Decriminalizing drugs: “We need a more compassionate approach”

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  • T Martinat says:

    I said the suicide rate would have a major increase this year. I haven’t read any News report suggesting that this change is motive. I Hate to be RIGHT! I suffer with back problems every day and what once was a Severe Anxiety disorder. My Doctor’s informed me of the changes in the FDA prescription requirements as I had no choice in the Opiod and Zanax matter. Zanax went first. It was the worst Roller Coaster ride ever, never been on a real one. One and half months to stop them and no other safe Benzo given for a smoother ride. The doctor’s are stating that it’s the law. Cover thy own butt. I have so much more to say but I won’t 4 now. I’m just one of the few people out there that made it thru. Thank goodness for family. Bye 4 now.

  • Scott Dudgeon says:

    Dr. De Villa’s message is a breath of fresh air. We need to act on this.

  • Laura Robertson says:

    Dear Dr. de Villa,

    I agree, and thank you for your well-reasoned and thoughtful argument in favour of the decriminalization of substances in the name of harm reduction and saving lives.

    My name is Laura Robertson, and I am on the MOHLTC Emergency Opioid Task Force. We are tasked with addressing the “opioid crisis”, and the street drug and overdose epidemic.

    We began to address harm reduction by making Naloxone kits more accessible, and were in the process of examining the best way forward for Safe Injection Sites and Overdose Prevention Sites, among many other critical concerns and issues. We were starting to coalesce as a team and deal with the crisis in more effective ways. A lot of time, effort, and planning went into gathering together a phenomenal cross-section of people with a myriad of personal and professional experience.

    Unfortunately, we were interupted by the provincial election. The province went under writ on May 8th, and the Task Force was suspended pending the election. It is now August 2nd, and there has been no word as to when the Task Force will be reinstated, or what will happen next. This provincial silence is appalling in light of the tragic circumstances and the climbing overdose death toll.

    I am publicly calling for an immediate reinstatement of the MOHLTC Emergency Opioid Task Force, and am humbly requesting your assistance with this. Please do everything in your power to help us get back to the critical work of dealing with the crisis at hand. More and more lives are preventably and tragically being lost with every passing day.

    Help us save lives.

    Laura Robertson
    Patient Advocate

  • Sandy Buchman says:

    Let’s learn from Portugal and other jurisdictions that have successfully achieved the transition to decriminalization. How did they approach this issue? How did they deal with the social and cultural resistance that most certainly was present? The war on drugs and the perception that drug use is a legal problem and not a public health problem is so ingrained in our cultural psyche that dislodging this concept from the public mind will be challenging, but this is a first step. The public is just getting use to harm reduction as a successful strategy for IV drug use, so we are moving in the right direction. Our upcoming experience in Canada with the legalization of cannabis should also inform positive change. Let’s see the evidence as to what works. On thing we need for a sure is a “compassionate” approach as per the title of this submission in Healthy Debate. And compassionate leadership in healthcare and government. Ultimately our society has to decide as what a life is worth.

  • Mike Fraumeni says:

    I wonder if the “evidence” based paradigm that exists in Canada with regard to healthcare might be interfering with what is the best practical approach to this, as you say decriminalization despite whatever guidelines and evidence might say otherwise? I don’t know, never underestimate the paradigm of EBM and guidelines as overarching arguments over even pure practicality in our society, I will say.

  • Garry Burgess says:

    Unfortunately Trudeau doesn’t want to listen to the most reasonable approach to this problem. What will make him listen?G

    • Mike Fraumeni says:

      Good question, but I think Justin is more concerned with his image on the world stage as to everyday ordinary issues here in his own country. Sadly.

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