Decriminalization yet another 'half measure' as B.C. confronts full-sized drug crisis, advocates say
More than six years and 10,000 deaths since the declaration of a public health emergency over the tainted illicit drug supply, B.C. remains a land of pilot projects and what many describe as "half measures."
Safer supply is still only available to a small fraction of people who use drugs. Most supervised consumption sites still don't allow smoking, even though inhalation is responsible for the majority of deaths.
Meanwhile, wait times for treatment and recovery beds are long, and there's still no provincial regulation ensuring facilities are using evidence-based methods and employing qualified staff.
On Tuesday, British Columbia adds decriminalization to that list, with the launch of a three-year pilot project allowing personal possession of very small amounts of certain drugs much less than what the province and advocates had recommended.
Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe, one of B.C.'s most uncompromising voices for bold measures to end the crisis, describes the decriminalization pilot as "a really important first step."
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