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Mayor welcomes drug possession changes, but treatment options badly needed

Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast politicians are welcoming changes prohibiting drug possession near public places where children gather.

Starting Monday, possession of illicit drugs will be prohibited within 15 metres of playgrounds, pools, splash and skate parks.

Port Hardy mayor Pat Corbett-Labatt welcomes the change. She says the opioid crisis is affecting communities and families across Canada, and while compassion is needed, so are boundaries.

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“We want to help those people who want to make a change, and we want people to be able to come forward and not feel that they’re in fear of getting arrested while they’re struggling with addiction,” she says. “But we recognize that places where children are, are not places where people should be doing hard drugs and we want to be able to protect our children.”

Meanwhile some Mainland mayors are saying the changes coming Monday are not enough.

Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West wonders why the change doesn’t include sports fields, where kids play soccer and baseball.

Nelson Mayor Janice Morrison says she’d like to see an exemption that includes recreation centers.

And Vancouver’s Mayor Ken Sim says he’s like to see the ban extended to libraries and transit stations.

Beginning Monday police across BC can seize opioids, cocaine, meth, and MDMA, most commonly linked to overdoses, which they find on anyone within 15 metres of the identified areas.

They can also arrest and recommend possession charges.

Public intoxication remains illegal.


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