IG news Update,
British Columbia is introducing a decriminalization policy on Tuesday, a comprehensive plan to prevent illegal drug deaths.
The pilot project will continue through January 31, 2026, following a federal exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
Here are five things to know about decriminalization.
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What medicines will people be allowed to carry and how much?
Drug users will be allowed to carry a total of 2.5 grams of opioids such as heroin and fentanyl, as well as crack and powder cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA, also known as ecstasy.
BC’s application to the federal government sought 4.5 grams, but police requested one gram before Ottawa decided to allow a cumulative 2.5 grams.
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Why is BC decriminalizing possession of illegal drugs?
The province says it aims to reduce the stigma of drug use so people reach out for help to get services such as counseling and treatment amid the crisis, which began after it was declared a public health emergency in April 2016. has killed more than 11,000 people.
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The BC government says decriminalization is one tool to combat the toxic drug supply.
However, drug users and advocates worry that services will not be available when people are ready to use them, especially in rural and remote communities.
How will the justice system adapt to decriminalisation?
Substance users carrying the maximum limit would no longer be arrested or charged, and police would no longer confiscate their drugs.
Instead, police will hand out so-called resource cards with information on where people can access services in their community.
The province says it has hired staff at each health authority to follow up with people referred by police.
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How will decriminalization be monitored and evaluated?
Federal and provincial governments say they will work together to monitor indicators related to health and criminal justice, for example.
Trends in drug use, interactions with police and public perceptions of people who use drugs are expected to be included in the data, as well as input from drug users.
The evaluation will be done by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
What are some exceptions to possession of an illegal substance?
Illegal drugs will still be prohibited for youths under the age of 18, on school grounds, in licensed child-care facilities and at airports.
© 2023 The Canadian Press