Jan. 26, 2023
“The metrics that matter are fewer overdoses, hospitalizations and deaths.
B.C. is entering territory that few have explored. Two decades ago, Portugal decriminalized drugs. Results there showed a decline in deaths and more people in treatment. But in Oregon, which made the change in 2021, an audit this month found “scant evidence” on the goal of improved access to treatment in the state. That’s the real finish line: more people in an expanded system of addiction treatment and recovery, with more beds and better services. Decriminalization will fail if it is not paired with a push to create more treatment spaces.
Neither province offers publicly available answers on key questions such as access to treatment. Are waiting times rising, or falling? What are success rates coming out of treatment? That information should be widely available.”