As Canada continues to battle an opioid epidemic, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is calling on federal lawmakers to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of illegal drugs for personal consumption.
CACP’s president, Chief Constable Adam Palmer, said it’s time to rethink how police and governments approach the use and abuse of illegal drugs in order to save lives.
“Arresting individuals for simple possession of illicit drugs has proven to be ineffective. It does not save lives,” Palmer said. “The CACP recognizes substance use and addiction as a public health issue. Being addicted to a controlled substance is not a crime and should not be treated as such.
“We recommend that Canada’s enforcement-based approach for possession be replaced with a health care approach that diverts people from the criminal justice system.”
Palmer said that, as an alternative to the criminal model, partnerships could be formed between social services, police, the health care sector and governments to make sure drug users get access to the treatment they need.
Palmer said the focus of police efforts should be on cracking down on drug trafficking and the illegal production and importation of drugs — a task the police are better suited to address.
More to come …