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London’s medical officer of health applauds Toronto counterpart’s call to decriminalize all drugs

London’s medical officer of health, Dr. Chris Mackie, says that prohibition is to blame for the current overdose epidemic in London. Matthew Trevithick / 980 CFPL

London’s medical officer of health, Dr. Chris Mackie, is applauding his Toronto counterpart’s support for decriminalizing all drugs for personal use.

On Monday, Dr. Eileen de Villa said she is calling on the federal government to decriminalize the personal use of all drugs as part of a strategy to treat addiction as a public-health matter.

Toronto’s medical officer of health added that Canada’s current stance is forcing people into unsafe drug-use practices and creates barriers for people looking for help.

“Dr. de Villa has made a really courageous stance,” said Mackie.

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Mackie told 980 CFPL that prohibition is to blame for the current overdose epidemic in London. He added that prohibition “forces smugglers to create more and more concentrated forms of drugs to move around easier.”

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According to Mackie, the push for decriminalization is gaining traction. In a meeting he had with the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, Mackie said, “decriminalization was on everyone’s lips.”

“It is not an idea that will be foreign to anyone who has seen the front-line level, devastating impact of the drug crisis.”

In a report released on Monday, de Villa also recommended that Toronto health officials urge the federal government to create a task force to explore options for the legal regulation of all drugs.

The report included a survey that suggested citizens of Toronto do not believe the current approach to drugs is working.

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