Participants gathered virtually on May 10 and 17 to discuss topics including: decriminalization, harm reduction, access to services, health navigation, Black-centered organizations and youth leadership, and how these impact African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) communities.
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“The racist and anti-Black harms facilitated by drug law enforcement have extended beyond the criminal justice system.”
Knowing about Canadian drug prohibition allows us to critically reflect on past practices, legal regulation, law enforcement, moral reformers and their agendas, new events and avenues to adopt.
Rather than being benign tools aimed at promoting the health of Canadians, drug laws introduced in the early 1900s were meant for social control and targeted certain groups of people, including Asian immigrants, people of colour, and Indigenous people.
Harm reduction saves lives and connects people with vital social services, health care, and stability.
Legal regulation would create safer communities for everyone. It would greatly reduce overdose, weaken high-level organized crime, and keep drugs away from youth.
By changing the way we see and frame substance use, we can move towards a system of laws and policies that will prevent harm and death.
Stigma can create real and tangible harms for people who use drugs. We can help or harm through our words and behaviours.
The system is failing and fuelling overdose deaths, violence, and organized crime.