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After backlash, public drug use is back being a crime in Canada’s British Columbia – Times of India

WorldAfter backlash, public drug use is back being a crime in Canada's British Columbia - Times of India

OTTAWA: Canada govt on Tuesday walked back part of a programme allowing people in British Columbia to possess small amounts of drugs, including heroin and cocaine, without fear of criminal charges. At the request of the province and after public and political backlash, people in the province are no longer permitted to use drugs in public places.
Under the changes, which went into effect immediately, adults will still be allowed to possess small amounts of drugs.But they will now have to use them in legal residences, at safe injection sites and at other harm reduction centres established by health authorities. The recriminalisation of public drug use in British Columbia underscores the difficulties that govts face as they grapple with the opioid crisis. Even in a province that has been a global pioneer of the harm reduction movement, an approach that seeks to reduce risky behaviour rather than to punish drug users, there are no easy answers. The province’s coroner estimated that there were a record 2,511 toxic drug deaths last year. The goals of decriminalising possession were to enable police officers to focus their time on large drug distributors rather than users and encourage users to be open to treatment.

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