Let your MLA know that we need bigger and bolder changes for decriminalization and legal regulation to be effective, and to stop drug overdose deaths.
The Government of British Columbia’s approach to drug policy is flawed and set up to fail. The province needs to take bolder action—immediately—to end the overdose crisis.
Over 10,000 lives have been lost since BC declared the overdose crisis in April 2016. Today, an average of 6.3 people die per day from overdoses*; the majority of these are due to toxic or poisoned drugs
While the province announced that it will decriminalize small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use, the threshold of 2.5 grams per person is almost half of what is needed by people who use drugs. This small limit means that many who use substances will remain criminalized, stigmatized and vulnerable to toxic drug overdose.
Will you use your voice and join FIRST UNITED in demanding more from the government? Let your MLA know that we need bigger and bolder changes for decriminalization and legal regulation to be effective, and to stop drug overdose deaths.
*Based on the number of drug toxicity deaths in May 2022
This letter writing campaign is now closed. As of October 2022, a total of 344 letters were sent to MLAs. Below are the contents of the letter:
Dear [MLA/Recipient of Letter],
I am writing to you because I am concerned that the BC Government’s approach to drug policy is ineffective, and deaths caused by the toxic drug supply will continue. As a resident of British Columbia, it is unacceptable to see so many people die from overdoses that could have been prevented with bolder policy changes and immediate action.
I call on you, as my elected official, to urge the provincial government to:
- Provide greater access to safe supply so that people who use substances won’t have to turn to the toxic drug supply that is killing members of the community.
- Increase the threshold level to match the needs of drug users. Many with lived and living experience have stated that the 2.5 gram cumulative limit is insufficient. This threshold will continue to criminalize the majority of people who use drugs, including:
- Substance users with higher tolerances—considering that the average amount carried by people who use drugs is 4.5 grams per substance.
- Poly-substance users who will carry different types of substances and will likely exceed the limit.
- People in remote and rural areas whose access to drugs is limited, and tend to buy in higher quantities because of interruptions in supply.
- People who are unhoused with no place to store their drugs, and therefore need to carry their substances on them at all times.
- People who are under 18 and are still subject to the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
- Relieve police from the task of referring substance users to social or health programs. Substance use is a health issue and not a criminal one. Police involvement perpetuates oppression and stigmatization. Qualified social service professionals are better equipped to handle these referrals.
- Prioritize actively addressing the challenges of homelessness, poverty, mental health and physical health, and racism. All these factors intersect with substance use and addiction, and need to be prioritized in conjunction with decriminalization and legal regulation of drug use.
Over six people per day die of toxic drug overdoses in this province. I urge you to push for these bold and necessary changes quickly. We can’t afford to lose any more lives.
[Name of Sender]
[Email Address of Sender]
[Location of Sender]