Home Health Drugs & Addiction Premier Eby pushed to addressing public drug use

Premier Eby pushed to addressing public drug use

smoking, outdoors
Smoke from drugs being smoked in public spaces can be a health hazard for others.

Friday April 26, 2024 | VANCOUVER, BC [Posted at 11:05 am / Updated 2:25 pm] | Click here for 1:15 pm news announcement

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Today Premier David Eby will address media about public drug use in BC.

premier david eby, legislative assemly
Premier David Eby in the Legislative Assembly on April 25, 2024. [Hansard livestream]

The media session will be at 1:15 pm, from the cabinet office in Vancouver. Click here for 1:15 pm news announcement & news release

The use of drugs — particularly small amounts of decriminalized illicit drugs — has been happening in parks, playgrounds and beach areas since decriminalization came into effect.

The use of substances by inhalation has been happening in hospitals and other health settings which has been causing distress and likely health impacts for workers and other patients.

All of this has caused political heat for Eby and the NDP in recent weeks.

In this provincial election year the use of drugs in public spaces is an issue that is bringing pressures to bear from the Official Opposition (BC United) and other political and health system advocates.

seaparc, skate park, public input

Seeking federal approval:

BC has been asking Ottawa for decriminalization exemptions to ban drug use in all public places, and to provide enforcement by police against use in parks, hospitals, beaches, restaurants and more.

Evidently this could undermine the two main principles of having decriminalization in the first place: not seizing drugs from people (which likely leads them into risky behaviours to support their addictions) and not forcing these drug users into in private where there’s no help if an overdose happens.

BC’s three-year exemption under section 56(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to decriminalize people who use drugs was first requested on November 1, 2021 and enacted on January 31, 2023.

ist main, westhills
Island Social Trends reports news with socioeconomic insights and analysis. Independent news service on south Vancouver Island, BC. Read free online or get the biweekly PDF by email.