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Decriminalizing drugs 'too small of a step': professor

It's in reaction to a call to decriminalize personal possession of drugs by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police
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It's too small of a step to deal with all the problems we're facing, but a step in the right direction nonetheless.

That, according to Daniel Bear, a drugs policy researcher and professor of criminal justice at Humber College, reacting to Thursday's announcement from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, calling for the decriminalization of illicit drug possession.

"Advocates have worked long and hard to make this moment possible, and feasible and within the window of possibility for the largest police association in the country to come out and say this," he told The Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS.

This would apply to people possessing a small amount of illicit drugs for personal consumption.

He said if it does end up happening, there needs to be systems in place, such as adequate support and treatment options.

And Bear added they would have to get police completely away from dealing with low-level drug issues.

"If (police are) going to interact with them, immediately pushing them towards, or giving them access to treatment, support, counselling, social services, all of those things," he noted, "Which can help individuals maintain their role in society."

Bear said drug trafficking is where they run into some rough territory.

He said the unregulated access to drugs will continue to pose a threat --- "that's the stuff that's going to keep killing people," Bear said --- so they have to think about decriminalizing the drugs as just part of a larger harm reduction approach.

"That does require access to safe supply, if we're really going to solve the problems ahead of us."




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