British Columbia to Decriminalize Some Drugs

Photo: Reuters [via Fox News]

The Facts

  • Canada's western province of British Columbia (BC) is decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of illicit narcotics, including cocaine, MDMA, meth, heroin and fentanyl, in a bid to reduce deaths from overdoses.

  • This move comes as drug-related deaths have skyrocketed, with more than 2k people dying from overdoses last year.

The Spin

Progressive narrative

Decriminalization is a good step in addressing the drug crisis, but ultimately legalization may be the best option. Ending the drug war and making illicit substances available to the public will free up police resources to solve other crimes and perform other functions more necessary to public well-being than prosecuting drug crimes.

Narrative B

Though decriminalization may be an effective policy to manage the opioid epidemic, limits must be put in place, and full legalization must remain out of the question. If the US or Canada were to legalize drug use, it would only make the overdose crisis worse, as it would fuel consumption via corporate incentives to profit on users' inability to quit, much like the tobacco industry.

Conservative narrative

Drug decriminalization is a slippery slope that should be avoided. Of course, treatment is an important aspect to dealing with the opioid epidemic, but users must be held accountable for their actions. Drug use is not a victimless crime, as the purchase of illicit substances fuels violence across the world and leads to negative social outcomes.

Nerd narrative

There is a 50% chance that at least 60 countries will decriminalize in some form the possession of all Schedule I drugs for personal use on a national level by 2070, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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