A bill that aims to decriminalize drug possession for personal use and tackle stigma surrounding drug addiction was introduced by the NDP.
If the bill is passed, it will also provide criminal record expungement, ensure low-barrier access to safe supply and expand access to crucial harm reduction, treatment and recovery services.
Alberni NDP MLA Gord Johns says taking a non-criminal approach to addiction is key to fighting the overdose epidemic.
“It is essential that we take a health-based approach to this crisis and not one that punishes those who need our help most,” said Johns in a press release Wednesday. “I hope that parliamentarians from all parties will support these urgent and necessary steps to address Canada’s overdose epidemic and remove barriers for people to get the help they desperately need.”
B.C. along with other cities like Vancouver and Toronto have applied to the federal government for decriminalization.
The NDP says over 20,000 people have died in the last five years because of overdoses in Canada.