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Alberta police chiefs say too soon to support drug decriminalization

Calgary chief constable says decriminalization alone wouldn’t reduce addiction or overdose rates.
Methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine from a safe supply being handed out to drug users by the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, Drug User Liberation Front and Moms Stop the Harm to mark International Overdose Awareness Day, are displayed in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Tuesday, August 31, 2021. British Columbia’s chief coroner says at least 1,011 people died from suspected illicit drug overdoses from January to June, the highest death toll recorded in the first six months of a calendar year during the province’s overdose crisis. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The association representing Alberta police chiefs says it’s too soon to decriminalize illicit drugs.

Calgary Chief Const. Mark Neufeld, president of the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police, says a number of things need to be in place before decriminalization can be seriously considered.

Neufeld says that would include provincial regulations on drug consumption around minors, public consumption and the operation of vehicles.

He says some aspects of decriminalization are already in place in Alberta, where individuals are typically only charged with personal possession within the context of a public safety concern or other criminal conduct.

Neufeld says decriminalization alone wouldn’t reduce addiction or overdose rates.

He says there needs to be a connection between law enforcement and public health so that people who need help can get.

—The Canadian Press

RELATED: Vancouver sends drug decriminalization pitch to Health Canada for federal review