NDP Mental Health and Harm Reduction critic Gord Johns made the following statement as the federal government’s decriminalization pilot program in British Columbia is set to start:
“Canada is in a public health crisis as thousands of Canadians struggle with their mental health and with substance use disorders. It is encouraging that all the efforts of the British Columbia’s NDP government have resulted in the removal of stigma for drug users through the decriminalization of substance use. There is, however, an urgent need for this same approach to be taken across the country.
Outside of B.C., 14 Canadians die every single day because of the toxic drug crisis. And with the high costs and long waitlists to get help, people are being forced to turn to our already overwhelmed Emergency Rooms. Canadians want to see a real plan for mental health and addiction supports that include the provision of a safe regulated supply for users, on-demand treatment services and recovery and prevention programs across the country"