Montreal’s public health is calling for the decriminalization of all drugs

The Montreal Regional Directorate of Public Health (DRSP) supports the request of its Toronto counterpart to decriminalize possession of all drugs for personal use.

Dr. Mylène Drouin, Regional Director for Montreal, “welcomes this initiative” in a statement released Friday, agreeing that “the situation of overdoses in Montreal is lower than in Toronto.”

As the Regional Director of Public Health in Montreal, I welcome Toronto’s recommendations for the decriminalization of drugs for personal use.

Dr. Mylène Drouin, on Twitter

It is in response to the opioid crisis that continues in the Ontario metropolis despite all the initiatives in place that Public Health Toronto has made this request in a recent report . In March, the City of Vancouver had already expressed a similar position.

“This is an appeal to the various levels of government to promote a more health-oriented drug policy,” writes the Montreal PRSP. Such a policy must be pragmatic, based on evidence and aim to reduce harm, including deaths related to the circulation of dangerous substances on the market. ”

“Decriminalization will certainly be on the agenda of provincial and Canadian meetings, knowing that this is one of the measures to be considered in a public health response to an unprecedented problem in many cities in Canada,” says also the DRSP, stating that it will “actively participate in these discussions.”

The Montreal authority refers to “documented experiments”, including those in Portugal , which in its opinion “demonstrated the rationale for the decriminalization of drugs for personal use, in particular by reducing litigation, increasing social reintegration, decreasing stigma and barriers to treatment access.”

“There were also fewer drug overdoses on average, a reduction in the incidence of HIV infections among people who use drugs, and lower consumption of synthetic drugs,” the DRSP says.

The number of overdoses rose from around 360 to 40 in Portugal from 1995 to 2015, and the number of HIV / AIDS diagnoses among drug addicts increased from around 1,800 to 44.

For Dr. Drouin is her team, “these results are promising and will have to be taken into account in the reflections that the Ministry of Health and Social Services [Quebec] wishes to initiate as to the changes to be made to drug control policies.”

Speaking Thursday on the program Question Period, on ICI RDI, Dr Carole Morissette, DRSP’s medical adviser, had already displayed her colors.

“There are a variety of strategies that need to be put in place if we are to respond to this great societal question. To begin thinking about the issue of decriminalization of drugs, it is certain that it will have to be part of it. We have evidence with Portugal, for sure. ”

Dr. Jean-Pierre Chiasson, medical director of the New Departure Clinic, a rehabilitation center for people suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction with psychiatric comorbidities, also believes in the Portuguese model.

“Consumers no longer have criminal records, but help files to enable follow-up between stakeholders,” he said Monday at Large Media , ICI Première.

Jean-Sébastien Fallu, an associate professor at the Université de Montréal and director of the magazine Drogues, santé et société , believes that we must go further than simply decriminalizing and consider legalizing all drugs.

“With decriminalization, we penalize, while with legalization, we have a legal framework to produce and distribute”, he argued, also to Medium wide .

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