Decriminalizing drugs without a comprehensive treatment and care system “irresponsible”: Alberta Addiction Minister


Alberta’s Mental Health and Addiction Officer said the key to controlling addiction and overcoming the opioid crisis was to provide a recovery-oriented care system rather than providing drugs to addicts. The deputy minister said.

In an email to the Epoch Times, Jason Luang said, “It is irresponsible to decriminalize drugs without guaranteeing an easily accessible and comprehensive treatment and care system, which is serious to our community. It can have unexpected effects.

“We believe we need to focus on comprehensive, complete and continuous care focused on recovery,” he said, which Alberta says “health from a system based on acute disease management.” That’s why we’re moving to a promotion-based system, and the result. “

Alberta’s strategy, which includes building five new addiction recovery centers throughout the state, challenges the “harm reduction” model of addiction treatment promoted by many of Canada’s best health authorities.

“[Recovery] Prime Minister Jason Kenny said at an event in July 2020 when announcing a new treatment facility for Red Deer.

The Alberta Government’s approach contrasts with Ottawa’s growing demand to decriminalize hard drugs for personal use with the goal of complementing harm reduction through a secure supply.

According to the Canadian Drug Use Association, “safe supply” is “a legal and regulated supply of drugs with psychological / physical-altering properties that were traditionally available through the illegal drug market.” It is defined. Drugs include hallucinogens such as heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, marijuana, MDMA and LSD.

In May, when the City of Vancouver submitted a final proposal to Health Canada to decriminalize possession of 15 illegal drugs below a certain limit, it was the first in Canada to demand an exemption from federal drug law. It became the jurisdiction of.

“Instead, people are offered to voluntarily connect to the service and no substances or tools for personal use are confiscated,” the city said on a web page explaining the exemption request.

This follows the British Columbia Government’s announcement a month ago that it officially demanded a federal exemption from Health Canada. This gives drug users unbiased access to the drug anywhere in the state.

“Through decriminalization across the state, we can alleviate the fear and shame that people remain silent about substance use, help people help, save lives, and reach out for treatment,” the spirit said. Health and Addiction Minister Sheila Malcolmson said in a statement. On April 14.

Decriminalization as a result of a surge in overdose deaths due to many overdose caused by powerful opioids such as fentanyl, especially in BC, Ontario and Alberta since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The voice is rising.

Experts say that border closures and other COVID-19-related social changes are affecting Canada’s illicit drug supply and can be manufactured or modified in Canada and have lethal toxicity. It states that more drugs are being sold on the streets. Both lockdowns and restrictions have played an important role in reducing the availability of direct service and support to drug users and those suffering from addiction.

The Epoch Times
After being sworn in in Edmonton on April 30, 2019, Prime Minister Jason Kenny Alberta will shake hands with Jason Luang (L), Deputy Minister of Mental Health and Addiction. (Jason Franson / Canada Press)

“There is no safe supply”

so Editorial In the Edmonton Journal last May, Luang disagreed with the proposal that decriminalization proponents had a “safe supply” of illicit drugs. “Their claim that the supply of illegal hard drugs is more toxic than in recent years is not evidence-based,” he said.

“Drug sources at Calgary and Edmonton police have confirmed that drug supplies are less toxic than in the past,” he wrote. “Illegal drugs have been and will always be deadly and dangerous. For people suffering from addiction, there is no safe supply of addictive narcotics.”

In addition, Luang emphasized: It exists in people. “

“Supplying these drugs to addicts does not end the addiction crisis we are facing. This current crisis begins with doctors freely prescribing opioids to the general public. Don’t forget that, “he wrote.

Alberta’s focus is on reconstruction-based strategies, but Luang told the Epoch Times that the state would consider a proposal proposed by the federal government and “an effective treatment and recovery system before making a decision on decriminalization. He said he was looking forward to working to “make sure there is.”

In addition, providing addiction services and access to a secure community was his government’s priority. One of the key steps is daily for publicly funded addiction treatment. Is to abolish the usage fee and reduce the financial burden on those in need.

Other steps taken by Luan’s department include creating 4,000 additional recovery beds, leading nonviolent criminals to drug treatment courts, and announcing $ 25 million to create a recovery community throughout the state. Includes doing.

“The Alberta model is a recovery-oriented care system that includes prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery. It is designed on the belief that all Alberta people deserve the opportunity to recover, and recovery is possible. It’s not just based on the belief that it’s achievable for everyone. “

Luang has decided to suspend the closure of a drug-consuming facility under the supervision of the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Center in downtown Calgary because the site was “extremely confusing” in the neighborhood. Said.

However, he states that consumer services will continue to operate in Alberta and the government will take a “city-by-city approach” to the location of the site.

“Our principle approach continues to serve the community while keeping it safe,” he said, saying that his department will open two more sites closer to those who need them. I added.

Luan said the Chumir site will not be closed until the new facility is up and running.

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