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

Just Posted

Bounding into the great outdoors

Playwest Mountain Experience takes hikers into the wilderness.

Fat Man Yoga offers low intimidation workout

“I needed to do more stretching and more flexibility stuff for my fat man body,” said Ryan Karl.

Feds caught with consultative pants down as groyne issue flares up: PSPC urged to get second opinion

MP Stetski said that of local stakeholders “nobody was aware of the project.”

De Groot family still waiting for inquest after 2014 Slocan shooting

Lawyer for Peter De Groot’s family say many questions remain unanswered

Four-year-old girl one of two killed in highway crash near Creston

The 26-year-old driver of a Saturn SUV was also killed

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read