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  • Writer's pictureHelena Konanz

Stop the Failed BC Drug Experiment

Updated: Apr 26

I will be putting forward a notice of motion at our May 7th meeting, asking that council vote to join other communities in appealing to the Province to end the failed BC drug decriminalization experiment.

As many of you are aware, Health Canada granted an exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to the Province of B.C. that from January 31, 2023 until January 31, 2026 adults in B.C. would not be subject to criminal charges for the personal possession of what they consider "small amounts of certain illegal drugs". Basically, the federal government is using BC as their own laboratory experiment to see "what happens" if they follow other jurisdictions such as Portland Oregon'a drug policies. And yet at the end of last month Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek signed a bill restoring criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of hard drugs, reversing a first-in-the-nation law that advocates had hoped would help quell a deepening addiction and overdose crisis. Unfortunately, the Oregon example was a failed experiment because that state ranks as the second-highest rate of substance use disorder in the USA and yet is 50th in line for availability of treatment. Similar to Oregon, BC passed these laws allowing possession without enough services, including treatment beds. The outcome has been disastrous. As you can see in the article below, this week three Metro Vancouver city councillors put out a joint press release that stated: “Legalizing deadly drugs has killed users, hurt neighbourhoods, and damaged B.C. communities. People are just completely tired of having to see such a lack of investment in terms of things like drug rehabilitation, drug treatment, and mental health,”

And the problems are revealing themselves here in Penticton. I believe safety of all our citizens must be council's number one priority. As in Oregon, drugs need to be "recriminalized". The province must focus on getting those addicted to drugs the treatment they need, and help us keep our streets safe for everyone.

Just a reminder that these are my own opinions and not that of Penticton City Council or staff.



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