cover image: Drug Policy and Human Rights Implications in Canada


Drug Policy and Human Rights Implications in Canada

26 Jul 2023

Untitled Drug Policy and Human Rights Implications in Canada Submission to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the Human Rights Council resolution 52/24 - “Contribution of the Human Rights Council with regard to the human rights implications of drug policy” (adopted April 04, 2023) May 2023 Submitting organization: The Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (CDPC)i Contact deta. [...] In Canada, between 2006 - 2015, the federal government of the day removed the term “harm reduction” from government documents and impeded the implementation of harm reduction measures including, in 2008, canceling the operating exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Activ for Canada's first sanctioned supervised consumption site (SCS). [...] In litigation that followed, the Supreme Court of Canada (Canada's highest court), unanimously found in 2011, that the Minister of Health’s refusal to exempt the SCS violated the constitutionally protected right to life, liberty and security of the person, and ordered the Minister to grant the SCS an exemption.v Since 2016, a new federal government has re-integrated harm reduction Faculty of Healt. [...] The tragic result of prohibition is that Canada now has perhaps the world’s most toxic illegal drug supply.ix The speed and scale of harm reduction implementation has been outpaced by rapid and volatile changes to the illegal drug supply,x; xi; xii possibly fuelled in part by the scheduling of drugs and precursorsxiii and national and international interdiction efforts. [...] The United Nations General Assembly report A65/255, “Right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”, notes: The primary goal of the international drug control regime, as set forth in the preamble of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961), is the “health and welfare of mankind”.
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