Heroin is now legal in Vancouver
This radical experiment, backed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, will last three years.
The leader of the Liberal Party said that a similar scheme could be rolled out in other major cities.
“At every step of the way, we need to make sure we follow science and data, and that’s what we’re doing. You don’t want to do this without a system and support in place. Of course, we’ve heard of cities like Toronto and Edmonton that want to take on this, and we’ll be working with them every step of the way as we move forward.”
“It just doesn’t make sense”
Not without criticism and accusations of double standards. This month, for example, Canada updated its health guidelines to recommend no more than two alcoholic drinks per week. By 2026, all foods high in fat, sugar or sodium must have a warning label on the front of the package.
James Gurry, a former drug addict turned outreach worker, is puzzled by the reform: “We are giving people the freedom to walk around with this poison in their pockets. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
“These actions are likely to lead to a surge in drug use, violence, human trafficking and drug addiction — things that health systems are already overwhelmed with,” said Jason Kenny, who recently stepped down as premier of neighboring Alberta.
Pierre Poilevre, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, this week criticized Mr. Trudeau’s track record, saying “after eight years, you’ve given in to Canadian cities that are turning into crime zones.”
Some health experts fear that young people who previously abstained from drug use may now be more willing to experiment.
The move also does nothing to combat the toxicity of drugs already on the streets. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin, was responsible for 87% of overdose deaths in 2021. It has sometimes been added to other drugs without the knowledge of the user.