VANCOUVER – Today, NDP MPs from Vancouver were joined by NDP mental health and harm reduction critic Gord Johns to meet with local organizations advocating for better drug policies. Johns has been touring the country to promote his private members’ bill which would require the federal government to adopt a health-based approach to reduce drug-related harms and stop preventable deaths. All parties will vote on this initiative to help save Canadians’ lives on June 1st
The national drug poisoning crisis has led to more than 27,000 deaths in just six years. In British Columbia, 2,224 people died in 2021. Johns' proposal follows the overwhelming evidence and advice of public health experts to decriminalize personal possession, expunge criminal records and create a national substance use strategy to provide a low barrier, regulated safe supply, prevention, education and universal access to treatment.
"After six years of inaction, the Liberal government is still not listening to its own public health experts," said Johns. "People are dying and will continue to die if nothing changes. On Wednesday, the Conservatives and Liberals have a choice to make. If they do not act to stop criminalizing and stigmatizing people who use drugs and rapidly improve access to support, the crisis that we're seeing will only get worse. And they’ll have to explain their inaction to families who continue to bury their loved ones.”