Toronto's medical officer of health wants the city to ask feds to decriminalize simple possession

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Toronto's medical officer of health wants the city to ask the federal government for an exemption to decriminalize simple possession of illegal drugs.

Dr. Eileen de Villa says the current approach to the opioid overdose crisis is not working, and a public health approach is needed.

She says in a report to the city's board of health that there were 531 opioid overdose deaths in Toronto last year -- up 81 per cent over the previous year.

De Villa is recommending the city make a request by the end of the year to decriminalize possession of all drugs for personal use, but says it would only apply to those living in Toronto.