Toronto’s medical officer of health wants to decriminalize possession of small amounts of illegal drugs in the city in an effort to combat the opioid overdose crisis.
Dr. Eileen de Villa says in a report to the city’s board of health that Toronto should ask the federal government to permit simple possession of all drugs.
She is recommending the city make the request by the end of the year.
De Villa is asking for an exemption to a section under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that would apply only to those living in the city.
Her report says there were 531 opioid toxicity deaths in 2020, which is an 81 per cent increase from 2019.
The doctor says the current approach to the overdose crisis is not working and a public health approach is needed.
Toronto police chief James Ramer says the force supports de Villa’s request to decriminalize possession of all drugs for personal use.
The city’s board of health is set to consider the report on Dec. 6.