FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Victoria, B.C.)
JUNE 13, 2018
Join Moms Stop The Harm (MSTH) in a rally calling for #decriminalizenow and #endthestigma of substance use. MSTH is a network of Canadian families whose loved ones have died due to drug harms or those who hope for recovery.
On June 23rd at 12 pm MSTH members and our community allies will be hosting a rally in Victoria, on the steps of the BC Legislature. This rally aims to bring awareness to the harms associated with the criminalization of drug use.
Moms Stop The Harm calls for an end to the failed war on drugs. The war on drugs has been a war on drug users and the financial and human cost to society has been staggering. We envision a new approach based on reducing harm, where people who misuse drugs are treated with dignity, respect, compassion, and support. One of the most common themes we have experienced is that most of our loved ones died using alone or with others who were too afraid to call for help. This is one of the driving reasons we are urgently calling on our government for immediate drug policy reform with a focus on decriminalization of the personal possession and use of illicit drugs, and restorative justice rather than criminal justice.
As outlined in the Hedican Petition we are calling for drug policy reform because;
- Over 4000 Canadians died in 2017 and over 2,800 in 2016 due to preventable opioid overdose resulting from fentanyl-poisoned sources;
- The current war on drugs has been costly and grossly ineffective and resulted in widespread stigma towards addiction and against those who use illicit drugs;
- Regulating to ensure safe sources, with proper measures and bylaws, will reduce the criminal element associated with street drugs; and
- Problematic substance use is a health issue and is not resolved through criminalizing personal possession and consumption.
The June 23rd rally will feature the following speakers:
- Leslie McBain, Co-founder MSTH, whose son Jordan died by accidental overdose
- Don Davies, MP Vancouver Kingsway
- Donald MacPherson, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition
- Nancy Murphy, a mother who has fought for her daughter's recovery, and her daughter, Tara Levis
- Musician Kat Wahama, whose son Joseph died from fentanyl poisoning
Quotes from Speakers:
“Being arrested and incarcerated for substance use is the most stigmatizing of all policies, while decriminalizing drugs encourages people to seek help and saves resources. These dollars are far better spent on treatment and education than in the criminal justice system. —Leslie McBain, Leslie McBain, Co-founder MSTH
“Prohibition didn’t work with alcohol and the same dynamic can be seen in the criminalization of drugs, in particular, opioids and stimulants. Locking people up for using drugs causes tremendous harm to the individuals, their families and to society, while it does nothing to help those in need of treatment nor does it reduce the supply of illicit drugs. “ —Leslie McBain, Leslie McBain, Co-founder MSTH
“Substance use and addiction affect every community, every family. They are not issues of character, or morality - they are issues of health. We need to implement sensible, compassionate and evidence-based policies that are effective and save lives. It is time we decriminalize and legally regulate all drugs and focus on education, prevention and treatment.” —Don Davies, MP Vancouver Kingsway
"It is long past time that Canada moves beyond the punitive and harmful practice of criminalizing people who use drugs, people that are part of our families and communities who deserve all the support love and compassion that we have in order to heal and get on with their lives. Decriminalization of possession of drugs for personal use has been shown to be an effective way to reduce stigma, increase health outcomes and use scarce public resources more wisely" - Donald MacPherson, Executive Director, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition
Information and media interviews:
Leslie McBain, 250-686-6490, firstname.lastname@example.org
Petra Schulz, 780-708-2244, email@example.com
Lorna Thomas, 780-905-8159, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: A professional photographer will be attending and taking photos. These images can be supplied to media upon request.