Canada - Halt drug possession charges during pandemic to stem spike in overdose deaths, advocates say


Bluelight Crew
Jan 22, 2011
Halt drug possession charges during pandemic to stem spike in overdose deaths, advocates say
Kathleen Harris
May 14th, 2020
More than 50 human rights, drug and legal policy groups are pushing the federal government to halt criminal charges for simple drug possession as part of its response to COVID-19, arguing the pandemic has led to more dangerous drug use practices and a spike in overdose deaths.

In a letter to Health Minister Patty Hajdu, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Justice Minister David Lametti, the organizations say COVID-19 has forced supervised consumption sites and safe needle programs to either close down or reduce their hours.

Additional street-level policing to enforce pandemic public health measures has also increased fears of arrest, causing many drug users to forego safety precautions or consume alone.

"Heightened law enforcement surveillance in the context of the pandemic further hampers their access to vital health services and ability to use drugs safely, while also increasing their risk of arrest and detention," the letter reads.


The groups that signed the letter — which include Amnesty International, the Canadian Nurses Association, the Canadian Public Health Association and the Criminal Lawyers' Association — say the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act gives the federal health minister the authority to issue an exemption for criminal charges "on the basis that it is necessary for a medical or scientific purpose or is otherwise in the public interest."
Read the full story here.


Bluelight Crew
Sep 14, 2009
streets of simcity
I don't see how removing the penalty for simple possession is supposed to reduce overdoses? Believe it or not but generally speaking the police will leave your dope alone if it's a small enough amount and you're not obviously dealing or whatever. I guess they realize that if they did confiscate the dope, the primary concern for the user will be getting some more by hook or by crook.

The overall mood and lack of recreational activities one would expect to have availiable would contribue to a sense of despondency, boredom, and more exccessive drug use. Doesn't help that some less scrupulous addicts took advantage of the CERB benefit too. A dope addict given $2000 cash is a scary thought.