“What this shows us is that drug checking provides valuable — potentially life-saving — feedback to people who use drugs, which we hope will help them make better informed decisions and contribute to improved self-determination and better health,” Tupper said.
In April, Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson blamed the ongoing overdose crisis on a “poisoned drug supply and a legal framework that treats addiction as a criminal issue.” He called upon the federal government to decriminalize personal possession of all drugs. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rejected calls from his own party to do so.
Both NDP MP for Vancouver-Kingsway Don Davies and federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh have called for decriminalization as a way to help combat the overdose crisis.
A B.C. Coroners Service death-review panel recommended last month that work be done to expand access to improved opioid-agonist therapies, and also called for the provincial regulation and oversight of treatment and recovery programs as well as the creation of provincial drug-checking services.
“There’s a need to show the public how bad this situation is but at the same time, drug checking can’t be the be-all, end-all,” Westfall said.
“We need to undercut the illicit drug supply.”
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