Fentanyl (The Canadian Press)

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

A group representing police chiefs across the country has announced its support in decriminalizing illicit drug possession as the ongoing opioid crisis wreaks havoc on people across the country.

“Being addicted to a substance is not a crime and shouldn’t be treated as such,” Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police president Adam Palmer said during a news conference in Vancouver Thursday (July 9).

“Arresting individuals for simple position of illicit drugs is ineffective… it does not save lives.”

Palmer, who is Vancouver Police Department’s police chief, said that the CACP is recommending the federal government form a task force to research drug policy reform.

“Bottom line is addiction issues should be handled through health-care system,” Palmer said.

In 2019, the CACP developed a special purpose committee to focus on the decriminalization of illicit drugs, which included looking at various policies in programs being tested across the country to combat the ongoing overdose crisis and the implications those measures have on public safety and policing. These programs included supervised consumption sites, safe supply programs and diversion programs.

In recent months, the pandemic has indirectly caused increased drug toxicity among the street-level drug supply. As a result, B.C. has seen the highest number of fatal overdoses since 2016, when former provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall declared the opioid crisis a provincial health emergency.

ALSO READ: Decriminalizing drugs the next steps in fighting B.C.’s opioid crisis, doctor says

The conference comes as the B.C. government is in the process of creating a working group to review the Police Act, amid growing calls to defund policing and instead focus that money on other social services to better serve Black, Indigenous and people of color.

ALSO READ: B.C. moves step forward in reviewing systemic racism, excessive force in policing

More to come.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

opioid crisis

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Kelowna Capital News)
B.C. Labour Board orders Peachland cannabis company to reinstate laid-off employees

The B.C. Labour Relations Board determined the employees were laid off due to their plan to unionize

École de L’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna Francophone school

Three cases of the virus have been identified at École de L’Anse-au-sable

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

BC Green Party candidate Amanda Poon (left) and BC Liberal Party candidate Renee Merrifield (right). (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Person who attended BC Liberal candidate’s Kelowna home event tests positive for COVID-19

Kelowna-Mission candidate Renee Merrifield has not exhibited any symptoms of the virus

Myra Canyon Halloween SCARE Park opens on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (Contributed)
Myra Canyon SCARE park returns this Halloween season

Opening night is this coming Friday, Oct. 23 at 5:30 p.m.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Curtis Sagmoen
Public warning issued to North Okanagan sex trade workers

RCMP warns workers to stay away from Salmon River Road area

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two pigs roam the Salmon Arm Walmart parking lot during a prior visit photographed by Danielle Burgi. (Danielle Burgi photo)
Pigs trot over for a visit at Salmon Arm shopping centre

Employees say this was the second drop-in from the temporarily free-range porkers

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Penticton law courts. (Black Press file)
Osoyoos man in court for alleged shooting

The Oct. 11 shooting left a man with non-life threatening injuries

Most Read