Expert says put aside politics to act on drugs

Expert calls on Liberals, Tories and the NDP to join forces to aid in overdose crisis.

A leading drug-policy expert is urging Canada’s political leaders to take bold action by joining forces to decriminalize illicit drugs and save lives in the midst of an unprecedented overdose crisis.

Doug MacPherson of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s stance on legalizing marijuana to protect youth and stop the flow of profits to organized crime must also apply to drugs that have killed thousands of Canadians.

MacPherson, who developed Vancouver’s four-pillar drug strategy in 2001, will receive an award next week in recognition of his work that has gone beyond harm reduction, prevention, treatment and enforcement.

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He says people aren’t dying from pot, but Trudeau’s declaration that Canada won’t decriminalize deadly drugs is likely based on the fact that he’d be attacked by opponents for doing the right thing.

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has called for the decriminalization of drugs such as cocaine and heroin for personal use, saying most people who face charges are poor or mentally ill.

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The Conservative party has been staunchly opposed to decriminalization and also fought against legalization and regulation of marijuana.