British Columbia Set to Decriminalize Hard Drugs

As of January 31, British Columbia has decriminalized hard drugs including:

  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Methamphetamine¬†
  • Morphine

Individuals over the age of 18 are allowed to legally carry up to 2.5 grams of each substance; they will not be arrested, charged, or have the drugs confiscated. Carrying over 2.5 grams would result in arrest and confiscation of the drugs.

This plan is permitted for the next three years.

“Decriminalizing people who use drugs breaks down the fear and shame associated with substance use and ensures they feel safer reaching out for life-saving supports,” said Jennifer Whiteside, the British Columbia minister for¬†mental health and addictions.

The hope is that decriminalizing the drugs will result in fewer overdose deaths. However, many critics claim that 2.5 grams is too low of a threshold to make a difference. Their argument is to provide more funding and opportunities to address the real reason the individual began drugs in the first place–otherwise, it’s condemning them to a slow death on drugs.

A similar drug decriminalization plan was enacted in Oregon a few years ago and has failed so far.

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