Toronto Public Health calls for the decriminalization of all drugs

Toronto's top public health official is calling for the decriminalization of all drugs as a way to curb rising overdoses.

Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa says Canada's current stance on drugs ``forces people into unsafe drug use practices and creates barriers to seeking help.''

She wants Toronto's Board of Health to pressure the federal government on decriminalization and for better harm-reduction and treatment services.

Monday's statement follows a survey by Toronto Public Health that concluded most Torontonians want drug use treated as a social issue, not a criminal one.

Canada's government already has approved legalization of marijuana, taking effect on Oct. 17.

A government report last month registered 3,987 opioid-related deaths in 2017, most involving fentanyl, which is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin.