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Vancouver wants to decriminalize all drugs. Will it happen? Will it help?

Last Updated Dec 2, 2020 at 7:26 am EST

A man prepares heroin he bought on the street to be injected at the Insite safe injection clinic in Vancouver, B.C., on May 11, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

In today’s Big Story podcast, last week Vancouver’s City Council voted unanimously to ask the federal government for an exemption that would allow the city to decriminalize small amounts of all drugs. The move comes amidst a surge in the overdose crisis that has killed more Vancouver citizens than COVID-19. The city is looking at anything it can do to save lives, and there are studies and examples around the globe that indicate decriminalization can help.

Will the federal government grant the exemption? Will this move become a political football? What would a Canadian city that decriminalized drugs look like on the street? Where do the police stand? And how soon might it happen? Because the crisis has advocates close to the breaking point.

GUEST: Travis Lupick, journalist and author of Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle with Addiction

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify.

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.