Vancouver council approves Mayor Kennedy Stewart's motion seeking to decriminalize drug possession

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      The City of Vancouver has moved one step closer to scaling back the failed war on drugs.

      Today, council unanimously approved Mayor Kennedy Stewart's motion to ask the federal government to do something that's never been tried before in Canada.

      That is to obtain a citywide exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to decriminalize personal possession of illicit substances for medical purposes.

      That would put an end to police seizing people's personal stashes.

      In a statement, Stewart thanked "hardworking advocates and organizations", including the Pivot Legal Society, the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, the Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs, the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, and PHS Community Services Society.

      “On the same day that the B.C. Coroners Service confirmed that a person-a-day continues to die in our city due to drug overdose, Vancouver has once again decided to lead the way on drug policy in order to save lives," the mayor said.

      New death statistics released

      Today, the B.C. Coroners Service revealed that there were 162 illicit-drug toxicity deaths across the province in October.

      That brings the total to 1,386 in the first 10 months of the year in B.C., compared to 982 for all of 2019.

      ͞"This is the fifth month this year with more than 160 suspected illicit drug deaths reported to the B.C. Coroners Service and more than double the number of people who died as a result of a toxic drug supply in October 2019,: chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a news release.

      This year, 70 percent of all illicit drug overdose deaths have involved people between the ages of 30 and 59. Men accounted for 80 percent of all of these fatalities.

      More detailed information is available on the B.C. Coroners Service website.