Niagara Regional Council to consider decriminalization of personal use drug possession

CKTB News- Opioids

Niagara Regional Council will be discussing decriminalizing drugs at tomorrow's meeting.

St. Catharines regional councillor Laura Ip will bring forward the motion to decriminalize simple personal use possession.

Positive Living Niagara Executive Director Glen Walker tells CKTB's Matt Holmes decriminalization could save lives.

"We find even with overdoses here in Niagara we have a very high rate of EMS calls, but our staff here have found that only 20 percent of our clients actually call EMS in an overdose and they're afraid of the repercussions. So if we can change that, then the number of people who may die from overdoses is going to be reduced."

Walker also says the issue should be treated as a health issue, not a criminal one.

"If someone is using they're being viewed through that criminal lens as opposed to somebody who has maybe a health issue or an untreated mental health issue. So many people we support have mental health problems, they're self medicating, or they have this strong addiction and they can't shake it."