Members of Canada’s Liberal party are meeting this week at their national conventionin Halifax. On the agenda: a proposal to “treat drug abuse as a health issue, expand treatment and harm reduction services and re-classify low-level drug possession and consumption as administrative violations.”
The initiative comes amid the nation’s opioid crisis, where lawmakers are desperate to find alternative solutions to incarceration for addicts. Advocates for the proposal point to successes in Portugal, where all drug use was decriminalized in 2001. Since then, drug use has gradually fallen in the country, and in 2015 Portugal saw the second-lowest rate of drug-induced deaths in the European Union.
In Portugal, even though a person in possession of an illicit drug is not arrested, they are ordered to appear before a “dissuasion commission,” and can be either referred to treatment or given administrative sanctions.
Canada’s Liberal party is led nationally by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who will attend the convention. However, after recently passing legislation for legalizing marijuana, the Prime Minister said his party would not pursue the decriminalization of any other drugs. – READ MORE