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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

South Surrey boy, 11, hopes to raise $3,000 for Sources – and be Prime Minister

White Rock Coldest Night of the Year event to take place Feb. 22

Recharged Sharks aim for playoffs after ‘well-earned’ break

Bayside rugby club mixes youth with returning veterans in quest for men’s Div. 1 title

Pedestrian fatality in Surrey

Police are investigating at 183 Street and Highway 10

Police watchdog seeking witnesses to Surrey arrest

It happened in a McDonald’s parking lot in Guildford on Jan. 18, at 152nd Street and 102A Avenue, at about 1 a.m.

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

B.C. man released from quarantined cruise ship in Japan

Because Spencer Fehrenbacher has American citzensip, he was evacuated by the U.S.

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Most Read