B.C. decriminalizes some hard drugs in a three year pilot project to reduce stigma and shame of drug use

Window on a street front reads Community Connections Revelstoke Society. To the left is a mural of a fish in blue water.
Community Connections Revelstoke provides, among other things, harm reduction services for people who use illicit drugs. Photo by Meagan Deuling.
Meagan Deuling - VF 2590 - RevelstokeBC | 01-02-2023
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Police in B.C. will no longer criminalize people carrying a cumulative total of 2.5 grams of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine or MDMA for personal use, nor will they take away the drugs. Instead, police are supposed to direct drug users to addictions and mental health services.

Health Canada offered B.C. an exemption from a section of Controlled Drugs and Substances act in order to decriminalize people who use drugs for a three-year pilot project, ending Jan. 31, 2026.

"It's a win," said Erin MacLachlan, the co-director of outreach and development for Community Connections Revelstoke, during an interview at the end of May when the pilot project was announced.

It's an important step to protecting people who are dying from toxic drugs, she said, but the long term goal is to have a safe supply of drugs, something she says we're a long way off from.

Listen to a full interview with Erin MacLachlan:

Listen to a news report about the decriminalization: