Mr. Chair, it's an honour to table a petition on behalf of constituents from Courtenay—Alberni. They are concerned, obviously, about fentanyl-related deaths. Over 12,000 Canadians have died over the last four years due to fentanyl-poisoned sources.
They cite that the current war on drugs has been costly and grossly ineffective; that it has resulted in widespread stigma towards addiction and against those who use illicit drugs; and that criminalization of particular substances has resulted in the establishment of a drug trade that now trafficks dangerous and lethal products such as fentanyl.
They are citing that regulating to ensure safe sources, with proper measures and bylaws, will reduce the criminal element associated with street drugs. Problematic substance use is a health issue and is not resolved through criminalization of personal possession and consumption.
They are calling on the Government of Canada to declare the current opioid overdose and fenanyl poisoning crisis a national public health emergency under the Emergencies Act. They are calling for the government to reform current drug policy to decriminalize personal possession, as has been done in Portugal and other countries, and to create with urgency and immediacy a system to provide safe and unadulterated access to substances so that people who use substances experimentally, recreationally or chronically are not at imminent risk of overdose due to a contaminated source.