Canada decriminalizes heroin

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One of Canada’s largest provinces is advancing with a plan to become the first in the nation to decriminalise a number of hard narcotics. British Columbians older than 18 will be permitted to carry up to 2.5 grammes of substances like cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, and morphine starting on Tuesday, according to the BBC. The government gave British Columbia permission to test out the programme for three years, during which time drugs would still be prohibited but anyone in possession of less than 2.5 grammes won’t be detained, charged, or have their possessions seized.

Residents who are using drugs will instead be given information on health and social services. “A significant shift in drug policy that favours establishing trusting and helpful relationships in health and social services over greater criminalization,” said Carolyn Bennett, the federal minister of mental health and addictions, on Monday. According to experts, 10,000 people have passed away from drug overdoses since British Columbia proclaimed drugs to be a public health emergency in 2016.Decriminalization, according to proponents of drug users, won’t be enough to stop thousands of people from dying from contaminated drug supplies, while others argue that it is a positive step in the right way for how drug users are treated. According to a representative for Health Canada, the federal government will monitor the pilot programme over the course of its operation to determine its efficacy.

The government intends to gather information on health, criminal justice contacts, public safety, and other indicators over the next three years, according to Carolyn Bennett, the federal minister of mental health and addictions, who made the announcement on Monday. The public would soon have access to such data via a quarterly updated web dashboard, she said.

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