Drug Policy and Human Rights Organizations Renew Calls for Decriminalization for All on International Overdose Awareness Day

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On International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) is taking a moment of silence to remember the lives of our friends, family, and community members who have been taken too soon due to the toxic drug poisoning crisis. We acknowledge the grief felt by those honouring their loved ones who have died or have been permanently injured as a result of an increasingly toxic drug supply.

During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada saw a 96% increase in opioid toxicity deaths from the year before, and deaths continue to remain high.¹ Now, more than ever, the need for urgent drug policy change and greater public awareness is vital.

The BCCLA is demanding that all levels of government put health and human rights first by implementing progressive and comprehensive drug laws and policy, ending the criminalization and stigmatization of drug use, and expanding and scaling up harm reduction programs and measures, including an increase in safe injection and safe inhalation sites, and safe supply programs.

As the “Decriminalization Done Right: A Rights-Based Path for Drug Policy – a civil society platform on drug decriminalization – states, “Decriminalizing personal drug possession and necessity trafficking are fundamental, necessary steps towards a more rational and just drug policy, and away from our current anti-drug policies. It is a change that is long overdue.”

Together, we are asking for the full decriminalization of all drug possession for personal use, as well as the sharing or selling of drugs for subsistence, to support personal drug use costs, or to provide a safe supply.

Evidence clearly shows that a bold policy shift away from criminalization is desperately needed as people continue to die from the toxic drug supply at unprecedented rates. To support calls for decriminalization, read “Decriminalization Done Right: A Rights-Based Path for Drug Policy” and email [email protected] to endorse the platform as an individual or organization or use the Google forms below to sign on:

Decriminalization Platform Sign-on (English)

Decriminalization Platform Sign-on (French)




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