Loading articles...

Police chiefs call for decriminalization of personal drug use

Last Updated Jul 9, 2020 at 3:24 pm EDT

Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer arrives for a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 8, 2017. Canada's police chiefs are calling for decriminalization of personal possession of illicit drugs as the best way to battle substance abuse and addiction. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

OTTAWA — Canada’s police chiefs are calling for decriminalization of personal possession of illicit drugs as the best way to battle substance abuse and addiction.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is proposing increased access to health care, treatment and social services to divert people away from the criminal justice system.

This would apply to people possessing a small amount of illicit drugs for personal consumption.

Chief Const. Adam Palmer of Vancouver, the association president, says Canada continues to grapple with the fentanyl crisis and a poisoned drug supply that has devastated communities and taken thousands of lives.

The chiefs recommend an integrated health-focused approach that requires partnerships among police, health-care services and all levels of government.

They say diversion would improve the health and safety outcomes for drug users while reducing property crime, repeat offences and the demand for drugs in communities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2020.

The Canadian Press