Last March, Comox Valley parents John and Jennifer Hedican put forth a petition which called for the declaration of the overdose crisis as a National Public Health Emergency. Black Press file photo

Petition to decriminalize all drugs turned down by federal government

Petition garnered more than 3,000 signatures

Despite receiving more than 3,000 signatures across Canada, a petition started by a Vancouver Island couple to decriminalize personal drug possession was turned down by the federal government in January.

Last March, John and Jennifer Hedican, of Courtenay, put forth a petition calling for the declaration of the overdose crisis as a National Public Health Emergency, to reform current drug policy to decriminalization and the creation of a system to provide safe substances.

The declaration of a National Public Health Emergency invokes the Emergency Act, and allows the establishment of emergency shelters, hospitals and payment.

RELATED: Courtenay-based overdose petition gaining traction

In its response, which was tabled on Jan. 28, the federal government said it is not currently considering the decriminalization of personal possession of drugs, other than the legalization and regulation of cannabis.

It was also noted that declaring a national public health emergency at this time would not provide the government with any additional powers beyond what it has already used.

“We recognize that in places where decriminalization has had a benefit, such as Portugal, there has also been significant concurrent investment in domestic treatment, social services and harm reduction services. Canada’s recent investments to address the crisis are in line with these actions,” it read.

The petition was open for signatures from March 27 to July 25, 2018 and was presented to the House of Commons on Dec. 3, 2018 by Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns.

In April 2017, the Hedicans lost their son Ryan, 26, following a long battle of addiction due to, as termed by the family, “fentanyl poisoning.”

“We are hoping that national attention to this issue will demonstrate just how pervasive substance use is and how we have to support those who use, rather than letting them die,” the Hedicans wrote in an email last year.

The government noted in its response it will continue to work with provincial and territorial government, municipalities, health practitioners, law enforcement and other stakeholders including people with lived and living experience, in order to address the crisis and reduce opioid-related deaths and harms in Canada.



erin.haluschak@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The third photograph of Robert Johnson

An old photograph comes to light — a reminder that mythology is real and the past is still alive

East Kootenay snow packs still moderately high

EK snow packs at 114 per cent of normal

City launches guide to help simplify development processes

A new guide that provides information and background on development applications and… Continue reading

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Car stolen from Cranbrook airport

Cranbrook RCMP are investigating a report of a stolen vehicle. The 2020… Continue reading

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read