Chief medical officer calls for decriminalization of all drugs for personal use
Emily Mathieu
The Star
July 9th, 2018

Toronto's medical officer of health is pushing for the decriminalization of all drugs for personal use as part of a shift to a public health approach to overdose prevention in the midst of a deadly and worsening crisis.

Dr. Eileen de Villa is urging the city's board of health to call on the federal government to decriminalize possession of drugs for personal use, while scaling up "prevention, harm reduction and treatment services." She is also recommending Ottawa convene a task force made up of people who use drugs, alongside experts in policy, health care, human rights, mental health and criminal justice experts "to explore options for the legal regulation of all drugs in Canada."

Those positions are detailed in a new report entitled A Public Health Approach to Drug Policy that will be presented to the city's board of health next week.

"There is an opioid overdose epidemic that is happening in our city and too many people are dying," de Villa said Monday. "I believe we have scientific evidence and evidence from other jurisdictions that would suggest this different approach, a more public health approach to drug policy, is at the very least worth trying."

De Villa has previously called for public conversations around decriminalization of all drugs, but only for personal use, but the spike in deaths across the country has brought new urgency to that position.
Read the full story here.