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432-00248 (Health)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

PETITION TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS IN PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED

We, the undersigned residents of Canada, draw the attention of the House of Commons in Parliament Assembled to the following:

Whereas over 4000 Canadians died in 2017 and over 2,800 in 2016 due to preventable opioid overdose resulting from fentanyl-poisoned sources. The number of preventable deaths has surpassed the total number of deaths of all other Public Health Emergencies in the last 20 years including SARS, H1N1, and Ebola. Those who have died as a result of a preventable opioid overdose from fentanyl-poisoned sources were valued citizens of this country; our children, siblings, spouses, parents, family members, clients, friends.

And whereas Substance use is a normal part of human experience; documented across centuries and all over the world. The current war on drugs has been costly and grossly ineffective and resulted in widespread stigma towards addiction and against those who use illicit drugs. Criminalization of particular substances has resulted in the establishment of a drug trade that now traffics dangerous and lethal products, such as fentanyl. Regulating to ensure safe sources, with proper measures and bylaws, will reduce the criminal element associated with street drugs. Problematic substance use is a health issue and is not resolved through criminalizing personal possession and consumption. Decriminalization of personal possession is associated with dramatically reducing overdose deaths in the countries that have modernized their drug policy.

Therefore, We, the undersigned, Citizens of Canada call upon the Government of Canada to:

  1. Declare the current opioid overdose and fentanyl poisoning crisis a National Public Health Emergency under the Emergencies Act in order to manage and resource it with the aim to reduce and eliminate preventable deaths.
  2. Reform current drug policy to decriminalize personal possession.
  3. Create with urgency and immediacy a system to provide safe unadulterated access to substances so that people who use substances, experimentally, recreationally or chronically, are not at imminent risk of overdose due to a contaminated source.
Presented to the House of Commons
Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni)
November 19, 2020 (Petition No. 432-00248)
Photo - Gord Johns
Courtenay—Alberni
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia

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