Toronto’s top health official calls for decriminalizing hard drugs

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Toronto’s top health official wants to decriminalize the possession of hard drugs. 

The city’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa made the recommendation in a recent report on drug overdose deaths. 

From April 1 to September 30, 2020, 132 people died as a result of an overdose in Toronto. The figures were nearly twice the amount of deaths over the same period last year. 

When asked whether he would support the recommendations on Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford spoke out in opposition to the idea of decriminalizing hard drugs.

“Absolutely not. I am not in favour of legalizing small quantities of cocaine or heroin,” Ford said.

“We aren’t talking about weed or marijuana, we’re talking about serious drugs that can kill people, that are highly, highly addictive.”

De Villa is not the only public health figure who has called to decriminalize hard drugs recently.

Earlier this year, Canada’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Theresa Tam suggested that she was open to decriminalization as an option to deal with the growing opioid crisis. 

“Canadians should be seized with this particular crisis, which can actually happen to anyone and could also have increased risks right now for people who may be isolating at home,” said Tam. 

The Liberal government has already funded a project in Toronto to provide drug addicts with a “safe” supply of opiates. 

According to the Toronto Sun, approximately $600,000 in new funding was allocated to the project. 

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