Edmonton drug users group wants to be involved in policy changes

Click to play video: 'Group calls for big changes to Canada’s drug policy' Group calls for big changes to Canada’s drug policy
WATCH ABOVE: An Edmonton rally was one of several held across Canada by the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs. The goal? A seat at the table. Vinesh Pratap explains – Feb 21, 2017

A group of Edmonton drug users will participate in a national rally Tuesday in an effort to have the federal government change its drug policy.

Seven cities will host rallies at noon Tuesday, including Edmonton, in a National Day of Action event under the campaign their “life won’t wait.”

The demonstrations and rallies are being organized by the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs.

READ MORE: 14 carfentanil deaths in 3 months spurs opioid warning in Alberta

The organization believes there’s too much discussion and not enough action when it comes to helping those who struggle with drug addiction.

“Different levels of government have paid lip service to the overdose crisis, but real action hasn’t arrived and delays continue to drag on,” read a statement on the organization’s Facebook page.

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“Many of the proposed policies have not been made with the meaningful inclusion of people who use drugs. Policy is being written from above, and is often changed for the worse without our consent.”

READ MORE: Edmonton councillors to discuss safe-injection sites

The organization wants to have input on Canada’s drug policies.

“When people who use drugs are excluded by our government, we begin to support each other in the face of this horrific loss of life,” the statement read.

In 2016, there were 400 deaths in Alberta related to opioids.

READ MORE: A province-by-province look at opioid-overdose stats, including fentanyl

In December, the Alberta government announced a provincial response to the opioid epidemic after carfentanil, which is described as being 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, was said to be responsible for 14 deaths in three months in the province.

The province said it’s focusing on harm reduction in its provincial response to the crisis.

The Edmonton rally will begin at noon outside the Homeless Memorial Plaza, north of City Hall.

More to come…

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