The world struggles to this day with drug addiction, and the vastness of the problem itself has created enormous industries of purported solutions over the decades…all to no avail.
Empires of rehabilitation networks have come and gone, undulating with federal policies regarding the sale, use, and legality of these substances. From the Reagan era’s “war on drugs” to Seattle’s safe injection sites, truly nothing has worked well enough.
Now, in one of the boldest experiments yet, Canada is looking to decriminalize some of the most dangerous drugs around for a trial period of three years.
Canada’s government said Tuesday it will allow British Columbia to try a three-year experiment in decriminalizing possession of small amounts of drugs, seeking to stem a record number of overdose deaths by easing fear of arrest by users in need of help.
The policy approved by federal officials doesn’t legalize the substances, but Canadians in the Pacific coast province who possess up to 2.5 grams of illicit drugs for personal use will not be arrested or charged.
The three-year exemption taking effect Jan. 31 will apply to drug users 18 and over and include opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA, also known as ecstasy.
Believe it or not, there were some wilder ideas out there still…
Dana Larsen, a drug policy reform activist, called the announcement “a step in the right direction,” but said he would prefer to see development of a safe drug supply.
“It’s not going to stop anybody dying of an overdose or drug poisoning,” Larsen said. “The drugs are still going to be contaminated.”
“I think we need stores where you can go in and find legal heroin, legal cocaine and legal ecstasy and things like that for adults,” he said. “The real solution to this problem is to treat it like alcohol and tobacco.”
And while the idea sounds just a little too wild to work, the world has spent a whole lot of time already trying everything else.