Canadian drug users are sick of being forced to purchase their drugs from a poisoned drug supply run by the criminal underground.
A non-profit organisation, consisting of drug policy reform advocates and people who use drugs (PWUD’s), calling themselves the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs (CAPUD), are suing the Canadian Government for their “unconstitutional” drug policies.
The group have filed a statement of claim against the Attorney General of Canada in the Supreme Court stating that the prohibitionist criminalisation of drug use is unacceptable and has tragically led to preventable drug deaths, drug poisonings, drug injuries and an “overdose epidemic”, all of which would have been avoided if there had been the option of a regulated supply of non-toxic drugs for PWUD’s.
They liken the criminalisation of PWUD’s whose behaviour of use is due to substance use disorder, to that of the historical morality-based criminalisation of same-sex attraction, and that to “condemn a practice so central to the identity of a protected and vulnerable minority without thereby discriminating against its members and affronting their human dignity and personhood” is impossible and irreversible. For this reason, the criminality of drug use prevents access to harm reduction measures, impacting on a PWUD’s ability to help when they need it.
The group is calling for the decriminalisation of both the use and dealing of drugs and to the “rights to life, liberty, human dignity and security of the person, equality, and against cruel and unusual treatment or punishment” of PWUD’s.
They seek to create change by establishing an all-inclusive (PWUDs and non-users of drugs) worldwide social justice network, whereby service providers, policymakers, and the general public hear and understand the social, medical and legal impact of the current prohibitionist system on PWUD’s and encourage the development of a regulated market for drugs, based on sound and compassionate drug laws, that empowers, encourages and supports improving health and social outcomes, by celebrating the strength of PWUDs and empowering them through respecting their inherent human rights.
CAPUD seek to resist the ‘war on drugs’ and to improve PWUD’s quality of life through a focus on the development and implementation of research, learning, education and training about harm reduction and safer drug use by increasing-
~ medical treatments for drug dependence
~ access to supervised consumption sites (“SCSs”) and overdose prevention sites (“OPSs”)
~ access to Naloxone (the opioid overdose reversing drug)
~ amnesty for witnesses of a drug overdose to promote access to emergency services to reverse overdoses
~ access to other socioeconomic and psychosocial determinants of health (income support, housing, employment, and education) for PWUD’s
The eyes of the world’s PWUD’s are watching this space and how it might in turn lead to changes to how we are treated, when unlawful drug policies, preventable tragic harms and deaths and the societal, psychological, legal and health impacts of stigma and marginalisation that we live with daily, will one day be seen as the “dark ages”.