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One year later: David Eby’s decriminalization experiment a complete failure

VANCOUVER (January 30, 2024) – One year after the NDP launched its reckless decriminalization pilot project, the results are in showing the pilot program to be a complete failure, with 2023 now the deadliest year on record for overdoses in B.C.

“Over the past year, B.C. has been left victim to David Eby’s harmful decriminalization experiment, which has utterly failed to achieve its intended goals,” said BC United Leader Kevin Falcon. “Instead of saving lives, decriminalization has contributed to a record-breaking loss of life in our province. It has done nothing to increase treatment and recovery services or to protect our most vulnerable citizens. The NDP charged ahead with this experiment without implementing the necessary safeguards, leaving families and communities paying the price.”

One year later, the NDP has still not implemented the guardrails set out in the Government of Canada’s Letter of Requirements and of the 100 new treatment beds that were originally promised last March, only 16 are net-new to B.C. Meanwhile, in the absence of public consultation by David Eby, numerous municipalities were compelled to enact their own bylaws to restrict public drug consumption, despite BC United’s repeated appeals to the Premier for leadership. In addition, the public dashboard that was supposed to track whether decriminalization is working or not is still not available.

“David Eby’s lack of leadership has resulted in significant suffering for thousands of British Columbians and their families,” added Elenore Sturko, BC United Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Addiction, and Recovery. “The continued rise in overdose deaths and the lack of accessible treatment and detox services underscore that decriminalization has been a resounding failure. It’s time for David Eby and the NDP to acknowledge this failure and change course.”

BC United is committed to delivering a recovery-oriented system of care to the province through their Better is Possible Plan, which emphasizes more accessible and publicly funded treatment, increased services for complex mental health needs, and implementing awareness and prevention education campaigns. Kevin Falcon has pledged to end the NDP’s reckless decriminalization experiment within 90 days of forming government.

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