News B.C. to decriminalize possession of small amounts of ‘hard’ drugs such as cocaine, fentanyl and heroin

thegreenhand

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B.C. to decriminalize possession of small amounts of ‘hard’ drugs such as cocaine, fentanyl and heroin​

Andrew Woo
Globe and Mail
31 May 2022

Excerpts:
British Columbia will decriminalize possession of “hard” drugs such as illicit fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, in a Canadian first.

Effective Jan. 31, 2023, British Columbians 18 and older will be able to carry up to a cumulative total of 2.5 grams of these illicit substances without the risk of arrest or criminal charges. Police are not to confiscate the drugs, and there is no requirement that people found to be in possession seek treatment. The production, trafficking and exportation of these drugs will remain illegal.
Decriminalization in B.C. is made possible through an exemption from federal drug laws. Under Section 56(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the minister of health can exempt from provisions of the act “any person or class of persons … if, in the opinion of the minister, the exemption is necessary for a medical or scientific purpose or is otherwise in the public interest.”

Full article here.
 

thegreenhand

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thegreenhand

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Kind of sucks that it’s only for 3 years according to the press release:

“This exemption will be in effect from Jan. 31, 2023 to Jan. 31, 2026, throughout British Columbia.”

Ideally it would be an experiment that eventually leads to a national decrim policy passed into law rather than just an exemption
 

Snafu in the Void

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Someone mentioned this in discord and my first thought was "how did that work out in Oregon?".

So I found this update, a bit vague but at least has some numbers:

 

thegreenhand

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“Most — 60% — accessed “harm reduction services,” like syringe exchanges and overdose medications, the health authority said. Another 15% were assisted with housing needs and 12% obtained peer support. Only 0.85% entered treatment.”

-from the above article snafu posted (for those who don’t wanna read the whole thing)

The access to harm reduction is encouraging, but yeah the treatment numbers are less than desired

Regardless, I don’t think coerced treatment is the right move. Rather we should be evaluating why people don’t want to seek it out. My guess would be that they find current treatment options to be ineffective
 

Snafu in the Void

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“Most — 60% — accessed “harm reduction services,” like syringe exchanges and overdose medications, the health authority said. Another 15% were assisted with housing needs and 12% obtained peer support. Only 0.85% entered treatment.”

-from the above article snafu posted (for those who don’t wanna read the whole thing)

The access to harm reduction is encouraging, but yeah the treatment numbers are less than desired

Regardless, I don’t think coerced treatment is the right move. Rather we should be evaluating why people don’t want to seek it out. My guess would be that they find current treatment options to be ineffective
They don't really mention the other damage reduction, such as legal, criminal records, and the resulting financial harm that causes... which then causes all sorts of peripheral damage in ones life. Not sure how it is in Canada, but in the US people often go into serious debt due to court/legal related fees after a simple drug arrest. Serious debt that lasts years if not their whole life.
 

thegreenhand

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Yeah that’s a good point

Not to mention if you’re already struggling financially it’s not really feasible to miss day (or weeks) of work to go to an intensive treatment program
 

Joey

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This reminds me of something that happened in the early 2000's with pot in Canada regarding medical possession. It was decriminalized for a short time and it didn't stick.


I think this is a sign of the times. Total decriminalization will be up and in effect within a few years from now. Progress in policy regarding substance use is happening in rapid sequence to get things done in Canada. I'm really rooting for the new Ministry of Mental Health and Addictons with Carolyn Bennett at the head will start breaking out some more good news in short time. We just got a federal ministry for this in 2021. Since 2018, so many things have happened and all in the same direction that I'd bet on 2025 being as long as it takes to pass a decriminalization bill across federal and provincial barriers.
 

hardtack

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Fantastic wish USA and CHINA would follow same thing and of course Marijuana totally legal any amount or allow to grow it --!:spinning::doggo::peperave::weedleaf::weedleaf::weedleaf::weedleaf::weedleaf::shrooms::shrooms::shrooms::hear4t::hear4t::hear4t:
 

arrall

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I am pleasantly surprised by this decision. Toronto made a similar request around the same time that B.C. did. Fingers crossed that Toronto gets approved as well.
It needs to be legalized so it's actually really heroin.
Vancouver and Toronto are currently testing out small pilot programs for safe supply. They also both have drug checking pilot programs.

B.C.’s addictions minister, Sheila Malcolmson, says decriminalization will not mean forced treatment.

Malcolmson also says substances will not be confiscated, unlike in Oregon, where possession attracts a US$100 fine.
Interesting approach here. While as a user of "soft drugs" (psychedelics and occasional disso use) I like this idea, I question how good of an idea not confiscating substances is for those using substances such as opioids which are rife with fentanyl. But this approach will probably still do more good than if confiscating, fines, and forced treatment were involved.
 
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Fornax55

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Regardless, I don’t think coerced treatment is the right move. Rather we should be evaluating why people don’t want to seek it out. My guess would be that they find current treatment options to be ineffective
Yeah, most of the people I associate with on the street here in BC (myself included) are faced with two obstacles that often seem insurmountable for going to treatment, which are:

a) the prohibitive cost of a quality treatment center (hard to define exactly what 'quality' means, but in my area the "good" treatment center is highly patient-oriented, doesn't mandate 12-steps, has highly qualified personnel who have mostly overcome their own addictions, offers holistic techniques for rebuilding y our social skills and life.) The cost for a two-month treatment here is just under $30,000
b) the shit quality of government-funded programs. Getting on welfare gets you a free pass into a government funded rehab program where relapse rates can be as high as 80%.

I try to encourage people to discuss and think about why they're using when I'm on the block. There's a lot more self-awareness on the street than one might imagine. Btut theer's an equal number of glossy-eyed blank stares that one receives in response to any questions about motives or intent.

I find myself questioning the importance and validity of safe injection sites a lot of the time. They've certainly helped me connect with doctors to get onto opioid maintenance therapy. But I think my interest in doing this legitimate is the exception rather than the rule. Most people just flip their pills. In fact I flipped about half of mine (because they didn't do anything with a fent tolerance) but the doctors are a saving grace for helping someone get their foot in the door with non-judgmental maintenance therapy to at least straighten their life out.

I'm currently trying to transition onto Suboxoe but I feel the induction rate was too fast (bumping up by 0.5-1mg daily until at12mg) so I took it a bit slower only to find out today that to refill my script I need to take a witness dose of 12mg when I've only been at about 5mg a day and still using a bit of fent. So I had to decide between going into precip. or risk running out of subs before I can get back to the doc...
 

Ballz_Trippington

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From what I've seen as far as this Canada's handling of legal cannabis, they are the smartest and stupidest government simultaneously.
They have these bold ideas thst seem shockingly amazing on the surface but as you look into how it's being handled it full of ridiculous bullshit red tape.
It seems really weird to me that 2.5g of fentanyl will be equally as legal as 2.5 g of heroin as someone else has mentioned.
If they were smart about this they'd let safer opiates like heroin go and keep fentanyl illegal.
Like I know I'm expressing an unpopular opinion on BL but I don't think ALL drugs should decriminalized... but most should...like I don't think very many people would even consider fentanyl if they could have access to better, safer alternatives.
I thi k they should decriminalize the most popular drugs that have clearly greater safety profile than the alternatives as I feel that approach would discourage more dangerous drug use.
Making drugs illegal DOES make them harder to aquire but obviously people still find a way to get whatever they want but it would be better if had safe and reliable access to clean and reliable and relatively safer opiates, benzos, stimulants, dissociatives, etc.
Also would this mean people in this BC jurisdiction in Canada can order up to 2.5g of anything through the border without worry of being seized at their border becsuse its within the proposed legal limit???
If so that would be tremendously helpful.in saving human life if they can import safer alternatives to fentanyl or obscure stimulants that are less prone to psychosis.
 

Pickledlemons

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I think this a move in the right direction. Really the problem can't be solved without full legalization I think. Decriminalization doesn't guarantee consistent product strength, or get money out of the black market. Still, get pulled over and searched, found with a 2g rock of meth, have the officer give it back and send you on your way. Thats pretty amazing.

But it seems like a lot of people are pissed off by this, I checked some videos on youtube and the comments are ugly. There really is a nasty stigma against helping drug users here :(
 

Pickledlemons

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Yeah, most of the people I associate with on the street here in BC (myself included) are faced with two obstacles that often seem insurmountable for going to treatment, which are:

a) the prohibitive cost of a quality treatment center (hard to define exactly what 'quality' means, but in my area the "good" treatment center is highly patient-oriented, doesn't mandate 12-steps, has highly qualified personnel who have mostly overcome their own addictions, offers holistic techniques for rebuilding y our social skills and life.) The cost for a two-month treatment here is just under $30,000
b) the shit quality of government-funded programs. Getting on welfare gets you a free pass into a government funded rehab program where relapse rates can be as high as 80%.

I try to encourage people to discuss and think about why they're using when I'm on the block. There's a lot more self-awareness on the street than one might imagine. Btut theer's an equal number of glossy-eyed blank stares that one receives in response to any questions about motives or intent.

I find myself questioning the importance and validity of safe injection sites a lot of the time. They've certainly helped me connect with doctors to get onto opioid maintenance therapy. But I think my interest in doing this legitimate is the exception rather than the rule. Most people just flip their pills. In fact I flipped about half of mine (because they didn't do anything with a fent tolerance) but the doctors are a saving grace for helping someone get their foot in the door with non-judgmental maintenance therapy to at least straighten their life out.

I'm currently trying to transition onto Suboxoe but I feel the induction rate was too fast (bumping up by 0.5-1mg daily until at12mg) so I took it a bit slower only to find out today that to refill my script I need to take a witness dose of 12mg when I've only been at about 5mg a day and still using a bit of fent. So I had to decide between going into precip. or risk running out of subs before I can get back to the doc...
Just put it in your mouth, leave the pharmacy and spit it out before it dissolves. Easy. Might be a little wet but you can still use it later.
 

S.J.B.

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If they were smart about this they'd let safer opiates like heroin go and keep fentanyl illegal.
Like I know I'm expressing an unpopular opinion on BL but I don't think ALL drugs should decriminalized... but most should...like I don't think very many people would even consider fentanyl if they could have access to better, safer alternatives.
The problem is a drug addict on the streets of British Columbia does not have the luxury of picking between pure heroin and pure fentanyl when purchasing drugs.
 
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