Public drug use illegal in BC, effective immediately

Drugs (Photo by Pixabay)

Public drug use is once again illegal across the province, starting this week.

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, made the announcement yesterday afternoon, approving British Columbia’s request to expand the list of public places where it’s illegal to possess and use illicit drugs.

This includes parks, transit, hospitals, and beaches.

“Decriminalization was never about using drugs in public, ever,” Farnworth said.

“Police asked for the tools to be able to move people along, and in exceptional circumstances, police have the option to seize those drugs.”

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If required, an officer can also arrest a person using drugs in public.

Farnworth and Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, both emphasized this is not rolling back decriminalization in the province.

Possession in a private residence, legal shelter, and drug checking location is not illegal.

“If someone is using drugs at home they should be able to call for help without fear of being arrested,” Whiteside said.

“Our communities are facing big challenges. People are dying from deadly street drugs,” Farnworth said.

“Addiction is a health matter, not a criminal justice one. But that does not mean anything goes.

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