A New Way Forward: The Case for Decriminalization and Safe Supply

Introduction: Canada is in the midst of a devastating crisis. More than 11, 500 people died of opioid poisoning between 2016 and 2018. In 2018 alone, there were 4460 deaths. The vast majority died from accidental poisoning linked to Fentanyl or Fentanyl analogues.

The crisis is exacerbated by current policies which criminalize drugs and people who use them. Laws criminalizing drugs have not resulted in decreased use. In fact, the criminalization of drugs in Canada has caused serious harm, particularly to the most vulnerable populations.

Many health organizations and experts in Canada and around the world are now calling for the decriminalization of use and possession of illicit drugs, along with safe supply programs. These strategies reduce harm and address the social conditions underlying the ongoing crisis.