By Jason Proctor/CBC News
Federal and provincial governments agree the death toll from opioid overdoses amounts to a national health crisis.
In British Columbia — where the situation has been declared a public emergency — advocates say a "safe supply" of drugs is needed.
CBC takes a look at how that might work.
What do we mean by 'safe supply'?
Exactly what it sounds like. In a February 2019 'concept document' provided to Vancouver City Council, the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs describes "safe supply" as "a legal and regulated supply of drugs with mind/body altering properties that traditionally have been accessible only through the illicit drug market."
The supply would include heroin and other opioids, cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, hallucinogens such as MDMA and LSD, and marijuana — free of charge.
Why do advocates say it's needed?
Thousands of Canadians have lost their lives to the opioid crisis in recent years. The dead include people of all ages from every walk of life.
Last July, the City of Vancouver approved a "safe supply statement" to share with other levels of government and to advocate for access to a regulated drug supply.
"We often hear this crisis referred to as an overdose crisis, but really, we are in a drug poisoning crisis," the statement reads.
"One of the primary causes of overdose is the contamination of the illicit drug supply, and we believe that future deaths could be prevented if people could access a regulated safe supply."