Friday, November 5, 2021


Let’s get one thing clear:

Substance use and addiction should be treated as healthcare issues, not criminal issues.

All people deserve quality health care, and that’s why we have been working across our government to transform the way people access services. For people living with addiction or substance use issues, shame, fear and stigma can keep them from reaching out for the help they need. This week, B.C. applied for an exemption from Health Canada to remove criminal penalties for people who possess small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use. Substance use and addiction is a healthcare issue, not a criminal one. By decriminalizing people who use drugs, we can help reduce the shame and fear that prevents them from accessing treatment and support. You can learn more about this step here.

Decriminalization is just one part of our plan to build a stronger system of mental health and substance use care for people, no matter where they are in their journey. Since 2017, we’ve rapidly increased the number of treatment and recovery beds for youth and adults, and we’ve doubled the number of supervised consumption sites. We’ve also made large, systemic changes, including developing first-in-Canada solutions like nurse prescribing and safer supply. 

The previous government left British Columbians with an underfunded, patchwork system of care for people living with mental health and substance use challenges. Our government knows that every person in this province deserves high-quality care and that’s why we are taking action to ensure that services are available and accessible when and where people need them.