Report – Legally Regulated Heroin Sales Could Curb OD Deaths

Fraser Valley/Vancouver – On the day after a typical Welfare Wednesday, where sirens race through the streets and attending to the usual Mardi Gras plague of overdoses, comes a controversial report from the BC Centre on Substance Use.

They recommend the urgent implementation of a model to reduce overdose deaths while also combating organized crime and the tremendous profitability of the unregulated fentanyl market through the controlled regulation of heroin sales in BC.

Read the full report here:

This would all be subject to Health Canada approval. The BCCSU proposes establishing heroin compassion clubs for fentanyl-addicted persons to provide access to non-fentanyl-adulterated heroin. Based on the cannabis compassion clubs and medication buyers clubs that emerged during the AIDS crisis to provide access to medical cannabis and antiretroviral medicines, closely regulated heroin compassion clubs could drastically cut fentanyl overdose deaths attributable to organized crime’s grip on the illicit heroin market.

The proposal comes in response to years of evidence demonstrating that efforts to reduce the flow of both heroin and fentanyl into the province have failed. Violent organized crime groups are presently reaping billions from the illegal fentanyl trade and have interfered in local real estate markets to launder drug profits estimated to be in the billions of dollars annually. Largely as a result of the fentanyl contamination of the heroin market, nearly 1,500 fatal overdoses occurred each year in 2017 and 2018. As a result, for the first time in the province’s history, average life expectancy is dropping .

Key benefits of the regulated heroin compassion club model:

  • Provides a much safer alternative to the fentanyl-adulterated illicit heroin market that is the key driver of opioid deaths by providing a standardized known dosage
  • Undermines the tremendous profits flowing to organized crime groups that are flooding the local real estate market, contributing to housing unaffordability in the province
  • Provides facilitated access to public health, free addiction treatment, and referral to recovery services through co-location with the proposed compassion clubs
  • Allows for revenue generated through a purchasing cooperative model to be redirected in-house to provide access and supports for those without financial means
  • Prevents opioid addiction by seeking to limit heroin access to individuals using fentanyl

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