A member of the Edmonton City Council wants to ask the city government to follow the Toronto leadership and learn how to decriminalize the storage of personal drugs.
Last month, the Toronto Health Council – the municipal body that oversees and oversees health care in Ontario – voted to ask the federal government to allow the storage of small quantities of illicit drugs to be decriminalized.
Ward papastyu kont. Michael Janz is set to present an initiative to Edmonton on Monday that requires him to prepare a report detailing what is required to be exempt from part of the federal controlled substances law.
“We need to abandon the American-style, Ronald-Reagan method of fighting drugs, which has clearly failed,” Janz said.
The report will only be the first step, he said. To move forward with decriminalization, it will be necessary to discuss between city groups to ensure a health-oriented approach tailored to Edmonton.
Data from the Alberta Drug Control System show that 2021 was the deadliest year for drug poisoning. There were 1,372 deaths in October – the latest data available.
However, crime does not eliminate the root causes of the problem, Yanz said. Instead, it traps users in the justice system and prevents them from accessing treatment or secure supplies.
“These are completely preventable deaths,” Janz said. “It’s a failure of public policy.”
When asked about the proposal on Wednesday, Edmonton Mayor Amarjit Soxi said it was a necessary conversation in light of the drug poisoning crisis.
“We need to explore all the tools available in our toolkit,” he said.
Alberta police chiefs are currently opposed to decriminalization
The Alberta Police Chiefs Association, which is made up of senior police and public safety officials, opposed decriminalization and said more work needs to be done until that point is reached on Thursday.
The position was unanimous among members, said Edmonton Police Chief Dale McPhee.
Any move toward decriminalization would require the government to address three levels of loopholes, including administrative sanctions, said Mark Neufeld, president of the association and head of the Calgary Police Service, at a media briefing.
“Drug decriminalization urgently needs structural and social change in areas that do not currently exist,” he said.
The association also claims that decriminalization is already in place in Alberta, as charges are usually filed when there are public safety issues or other crimes.
However, such arbitrary use often leads to the arrest of an disproportionate number of marginalized people, said Petra Schulz, one of the founders of Moms Stop the Harm. a network of Canadian families affected by lims.
The local population is overcrowded in deaths from drug poisoning and in the criminal justice system.
More help is needed, Schulz said. But these may be related to decriminalization, which, he predicts, will redistribute resources from executive to health services.
Decriminalization can also save lives by reducing the stigma associated with drug use, he added.
“It’s very difficult to ask for help for something that has been found a crime.”
Sending available resources, removing drug addicts from the justice system, and helping them get treated is a key thing that is lacking in resolving the city’s drug crisis, McPhee said.
The criminalization of drug use has far-reaching consequences, and research shows that it doesn’t work, said Elaine Hishka, an associate professor of health at the University of Alberta and an expert on the opioid epidemic.
“It’s not just the people who are convicted, but then [that] it stays with them for the rest of their lives and affects their work and their ability to travel, ”he said.
According to Hishka, municipal governments are beginning to recognize criminalization because they do not lead to less drug use or overdose reduction.
The proposal, which Janz plans to make to city council next week, could signal a transition to a better system in Edmonton, he said.
“There is an opportunity to really benefit society and stop wasting public money on something we know is not only inefficient but harmful.”