Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Public drug use: B.C. . appeals the decision of the Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court in December suspended the application of a law on the consumption of drugs in public places.

  • Catherine Dib (View profile)Catherine Dib

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The British Columbia government has appeals the provincial Supreme Court's decision on the public consumption of illegal substances.

Last December, it suspended the application of the new provincial law which authorized the distribution of fines and prison sentences for people consuming certain drugs in public places, such as parks, beaches and playgrounds. of games reserved for children.

Judge Christopher Hinkson ruled in favor of the Harm Reduction Nurses Association, which found that removing drug users from public places can contribute to further isolating them and putting them at risk in the workplace. case of an overdose for example. The decision imposes a temporary injunction on provincial law until March 31, 2024.

In the notice of appeal filed On Monday, the province named six possible grounds for appeal, saying, among other things, that the judge's order was too vague and that the conclusions in his ruling were not firmly rooted in the evidence before him.

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In the eyes of the Court, the law adopted in November by the provincial government risks exacerbating the opioid crisis instead of alleviating it.

In the appeal, the province also claims that Judge Christopher Hinkson relied on opinions for the assessment of irreparable harm necessary to justify the 'injunction. The province made the same criticisms of the Nurses Association's harm reduction arguments when it appeared in court this fall.

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The revelation of the appeal filed Monday comes the day after the filing of the report from the province's chief coroner, Lisa Lapointe, revealing that 2023 had been the deadliest year in in fatal overdoses, with more than 2,500 people dead.

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avid Eby hopes to maintain British Columbians' support for the decriminalization of illicit drugs by limiting users' access to certain public places.

In point press release Thursday, to explain the decision to refer the matter to the Court of Appeal, the premier of the province, David Eby, stressed that it is essential to approach addiction as a health issue and not as a criminal issue . This is not a crisis that will be resolved by arresting and then putting someone in prison. This system doesn't improve anyone's life, he said.

It is important to regulate the use of substances like tobacco and to determine when and where appropriate where people can use substances and where it is not appropriate. And these are the arguments that will be presented to the Court of Appeal.

A quote from David Eby, Premier of British Columbia

But he believes that to ensure British Columbians' support for the idea that criminalization is not the right approach to combating the crisis, we must also regulate places where illegal drugs are consumed. It is also important to recognize that certain places in the city must be reserved for certain uses. Bus stops are for waiting for the bus, parks are for playing and business entrances are for businesses to operate, he argues.

He recognizes that a balanced approach to the subject presents its share of challenges. British Columbians need to be reassured that they will not lose access to their parks and bus stops while showing compassion about addiction and its realities.

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