Montreal decriminalization drugs

Montreal public health calls for decriminalization of illegal drugs

B.C.’s plan to decriminalize the possession of 2.5 grams of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA will reduce fatal overdoses, says Dr. Mylène Drouin.

Following an announcement that B.C. will decriminalize the possession of 2.5 grams of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA, Montreal public health director Mylène Drouin is calling for the decriminalization of drugs in the city. In an interview with Radio-Canada on June 8, she said that decriminalization would be a useful tool in public health’s harm-reduction strategy, with effects ranging from erasing the stigma that comes with having a criminal record to helping to reduce fatal drug overdoses.

“Decriminalization could allow Montreal drug users to consume in safer, better supervised contexts and to avoid all the prejudices associated with judicialization. In Quebec, one person dies every day from an overdose.”

—Dr. Mylène Drouin

Montreal public health calls for decriminalization of illegal drugs

There were 339 deaths due to drug overdoses in Quebec between Jan. and Sept. 2021 alone. In Montreal, there was a 25% increase in overdose deaths during the pandemic, according to Drouin, though numbers have returned to pre-pandemic levels this year. Fatal overdoses are still occurring, however, and the opioid crisis is “raging.”

When Quebec Premier François Legault was asked last week about whether Quebec may adopt the B.C. strategy, he said he didn’t believe decriminalization was necessary in this province.

This article was originally published on June 9 and updated on August 21, 2022.


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