“Canada continues to grapple with the crisis of the Fentanyl and the sources of drugs, poisonous that have ravaged our communities and took the lives of thousands of people,” said Thursday the head of the Vancouver Police department, Adam Palmer, president of the national association.
July 9, 2020 20h56
The chiefs of police recommend to decriminalize illegal drugs
The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The chiefs of police in Canada believe that the decriminalization of the simple possession of illicit drugs would be the best way to fight the drug abuse and overdoses, sometimes fatal.
The canadian Association of chiefs of police rather proposes to improve access to health care, treatment, and social services, in order to avoid the litigation of dependencies. This decriminalization would apply to persons in possession of a small quantity of illicit drugs for personal consumption and not for resale.
The liberal government of Justin Trudeau has already legalized the recreational use of marijuana, to keep marijuana out of the hands of minors, and remove this market from the hands of the organized crime. Decriminalization does not mean legalization, as marijuana: possession of illegal drugs would remain illegal, but the penalties for possession of small amounts (“simple possession”) would be reduced, or criminal convictions would be replaced with fines or other sanctions.
“Canada continues to grapple with the crisis of the Fentanyl and the sources of drugs, poisonous that have ravaged our communities and took the lives of thousands of people,” said Thursday the head of the Vancouver Police department, Adam Palmer, president of the national association. “We recommend that the application of the law gives way to an integrated approach, focusing on health, and based on partnerships between the police, the health care sector of the health and the various levels of government.”
The chiefs of police have argued that alternative measures would improve the health and safety of individuals who consume the drug, while reducing property crime, re-offending and the demand for drugs in the streets. They request the creation of a national working group to “explore reforms to drug policy”, in particular by amending the sections of the criminal Code that relate to simple possession.
“The efforts of police and the judicial system must continue to be dedicated to the fight against organised crime and the disruption of the supply system of harmful substances in our communities by targeting the drug trafficking as well as the production and importation of illegal drugs”, reminding the chiefs of police.
But the traditional role of front-line officers “has fundamentally changed, to support the reduction of harms in interventions with drug addicts or individuals suffering from mental illness,” said chief Palmer. “Very often, the police are the first contact and are the stakeholders that will help direct individuals to services and appropriate care”, he added.
The recommendations of the heads arise from the findings of a special committee in 2018 to study the decriminalization of illicit drugs and its impact on public health and the police. In his report filed this month, the committee has recommended that new, innovative approaches for curbing the overdose of drugs.
“At the present time, the addicts suffer consequences, including criminal records, the stigma, the risks of overdose and transmission of blood-borne diseases, stressed the committee. The objective is to mitigate these harmful effects by eliminating the criminal penalties that would be replaced by interventions to promote access to harm reduction services and treatment services.”
The canadian Association of chiefs of police represents 1300 directors of various police forces across the country.