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

Coldest Night of the Year event brings attention to plight of the homeless

Port Alberni teams prepare to walk one of three routes and raise funds too

Alberni Armada girls a surprise contender at Vancouver Island high school basketball championships

The Alberni Armada senior girls’ basketball team is going somewhere they never… Continue reading

Alberni Curling Club hosts 66th annual men’s bonspiel

Curlers will compete in four events Feb. 15–17

Arrowsmith Rotary seeking artist proposals for mural near Harbour Quay

Mural project will be based on the theme of reconciliation

Port Alberni couple wins $5 million jackpot

Harold and Madelaine Thomas plan to put money aside for children and grandchildren

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Man in Vancouver Island hotel shooting pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Brandon Tyler Woody, from Victoria, to be sentenced in late March in B.C. Supreme Court

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Most Read