British Columbia recriminalizes drug possession, drawing praise, worry | News World

VANCOUVER — It was less than two years ago that officials in British Columbia, the epicenter of Canada’s drug overdose crisis, unveiled what they called “bold action.”

The experiment, backed by Canada’s police chiefs, was to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of some drugs — including methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl and heroin — for personal use. The approach, officials said, would reduce the stigma that can discourage users from seeking treatment and the criminal records that can prevent them from rebuilding their lives.

If the three-year trial produced results, it could be a template for the rest of the country.

But now, with complaints about public drug use rising and a provincial election looming, they’ve abruptly reversed course. The center-left New Democratic Party government, which championed the policy, last month received approval from Ottawa to recriminalize drug possession in most public spaces.


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