Canada is in urgent need of comprehensive harm reduction policy that jettisons the failed, costly model of drug prohibition that has ravaged so many lives, from fueling the spread of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV), to contributing to over-incarceration, to creating conditions for the ongoing epidemic of overdose fatalities. A harm reduction approach must include measures to reduce the harm sometimes associated with various substances (legal or illegal), and also a commitment to end the harms produced by the existence and enforcement of punitive drug laws and policies. Drug policy must be guided by evidence, public health objectives and a commitment to upholding the human rights of people who use drugs. The federal government can and should act now on several fronts to protect the health and human rights of all Canadians, particularly those most at risk of harms.
6 recommendations are presented below.
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