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Federal health minister says too early for broad drug decriminalization

BY , Jan 17, 2020 5:27 PM - REPORT AN ERRORLAST UPDATED ON Apr 24, 2020 3:31 PM

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu walks through a back alley after visiting the Molson Overdose Prevention Site in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, Thursday, January 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Canada's health minister says countries that have taken the step toward decriminalizing drugs have done so with supports in place to protect people struggling with addiction.

Patty Hajdu toured the Molson Overdose Prevention Site in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside yesterday and says talk of decriminalization in order to deal with the opioid crisis in Canada is premature until comprehensive supports are available here.

She says support services vary from province to province and a comprehensive approach includes prevention, treatment, harm reduction, housing and enforcement.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last month he was not convinced that decriminalizing hard drugs is the solution to the opioid crisis and other options need a chance.

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