The Province is moving forward with vital measures to combat stigma and turn the tide on the overdose crisis.
To address stigma, BC will officially request a federal exemption from Health Canada to decriminalize personal possession of drugs in the province, removing the shame that often prevents people from reaching out for life-saving help.
“COVID-19 is not the only pandemic that is impacting our healthcare system,” claimed Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade. “The addiction crisis and war on drugs has led to incredibly negative implications for our workforce, our economy, and our society.”
The criminal justice system is overburdened. Our healthcare system is at capacity. Our labour force is in short supply. Decriminalization and regulation of non-medical drugs can alleviate these pressures and more. By decriminalizing and regulating the illicit drug supply, overdoses can be managed.
“By ensuring that possession of non-medical drugs and being under the influence does not result in criminal charges, our workforce is not reduced. But there must be a rehabilitation aspect included in decriminalization and regulation. Rehabilitation coupled with work placement programs will increase our labour supply, reduce the toll on our healthcare system in the long run, and lead to fewer deaths.”
The Surrey Board of Trade asks that the Federal Government work with Provincial and Territorial Governments to:
1. Decriminalize and regulate all non-medical drugs;
2. Create rehabilitation programs by working with relevant not-for-profit organizations to build their capacity; and,
3. Work with businesses to create work-placement programs for those that have completed rehabilitation programs by subsidizing a portion of the wages.
Anita Huberman, 604-634-0342, firstname.lastname@example.org