Fentanyl (The Canadian Press)

Fentanyl (The Canadian Press)

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

A group representing police chiefs across the country has announced its support in decriminalizing illicit drug possession as the ongoing opioid crisis wreaks havoc on people across the country.

“Being addicted to a substance is not a crime and shouldn’t be treated as such,” Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police president Adam Palmer said during a news conference in Vancouver Thursday (July 9).

“Arresting individuals for simple position of illicit drugs is ineffective… it does not save lives.”

Palmer, who is Vancouver Police Department’s police chief, said that the CACP is recommending the federal government form a task force to research drug policy reform.

“Bottom line is addiction issues should be handled through health-care system,” Palmer said.

In 2019, the CACP developed a special purpose committee to focus on the decriminalization of illicit drugs, which included looking at various policies in programs being tested across the country to combat the ongoing overdose crisis and the implications those measures have on public safety and policing. These programs included supervised consumption sites, safe supply programs and diversion programs.

In recent months, the pandemic has indirectly caused increased drug toxicity among the street-level drug supply. As a result, B.C. has seen the highest number of fatal overdoses since 2016, when former provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall declared the opioid crisis a provincial health emergency.

ALSO READ: Decriminalizing drugs the next steps in fighting B.C.’s opioid crisis, doctor says

The conference comes as the B.C. government is in the process of creating a working group to review the Police Act, amid growing calls to defund policing and instead focus that money on other social services to better serve Black, Indigenous and people of color.

ALSO READ: B.C. moves step forward in reviewing systemic racism, excessive force in policing

More to come.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

opioid crisis

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elise Gouin (left), tech peer to Jocelyn McLean, in booth at CEED Centre Neighbourhood House. (Christian Cowley/Special to The News)
New seniors programs at Maple Ridge centre help isolated connect

The CEED Centre Society is offering two new seniors programs

Nobody will be turned away from the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministry in the next couple of days as temperatures are expected to dip below freezing. (THE NEWS/files)
Ridge Meadows Salvation Army calls for extreme weather response

Freezing temperatures forecast tonight and Friday, snow on the weekend

Madeline Merlo announced a new record deal with Broken Bow Record Music Group. (Facebook/Madeline Merlo)
Maple Ridge country artist signs record deal in Nashville

Madeline Merlo signed with Broken Bow Record Music Group

The Meadow Ridge Female Hockey Association has received a government grant to help weather the pandemic financially.
Ridge Meadows sports organizations given pandemic relief

Three associations approved for government grants

Tony Lam sent in this image of the community looking towards Golden Ears Mountain. (Tony Lam/Special to The News)
SHARE: Tranquil view of Golden Ears Mountain

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read