Yesterday marked a historic day for Canadian drug policy, with Minister of Health Dr. Jane Philpott and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announcing reforms to Canada’s problematic Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and related federal laws. Bill C-37, the proposed legislation is, however, at once exciting and deeply troubling.Read more
Last month the BC Court of Appeal delivered a decision that overturned two-year minimum sentences for drug trafficking convictions. In their unanimous decision, the justices found that these mandatory sentencing provisions were “grossly disproportionate” in light of the crime committed, and therefore amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.Read more
The Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops is 387 kilometres from Stone Indian Reserve No. 1, located on the south bank of the Chilcotin River. It’s about a 4.5-hour drive between the two, considerably longer if you have to hitchhike or find a way to Williams Lake to take the bus. Two years ago, it was the distance between 18-year-old Jacob Setah and his home community at the time of this death.Read more
Scott Bernstein is the global drug policy program officer at the New York-based Open Society Foundations. He’s also the former health and drug policy campaigner for Pivot Legal Society, where he initiated legal challenges to anti-harm reduction bylaws and restrictions to opioid substitution treatments.
Last week Scott attended the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 2016), where Canada presented a new vision for drug policy.