VANCOUVER, BC) – Foundation for Drug Policy Solutions (FDPS) and PROSPER President Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., a Vancouver resident and 

former White House drug policy advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama, released the following statement today in response to the abrupt announcement that British Columbia has reversed course on its dangerous experiment decriminalizing the possession of illicit drugs:

“Given the plethora of problems, from open air drug usage in public spaces including school ground and public parks, to the thriving illicit market, it’s really a no brainer to reverse course on drug decriminalization. Just like it was in the US state of Oregon, the policy here has been an unbridled failure that’s making communities less safe and creating serious threats to public health. Across BC and Canada as a whole, people from all political background are waking up to the failures of drug decriminalization and calling for action. Today, we are seeing the results of that groundswell. We should now pivot to focus on prevention, intervention, smart enforcement, and recovery, in addition to harm reduction, which hitherto has been the only pillar in cities like Vancouver.

“Good drug policy shouldn’t only be advocated for during crucial election years, however. This announcement shows how important it is to always adopt drug policy based on a public health and safety balance, not the whims of pro-drug activists and the addiction-for-profit industry. Our thanks goes out to advocates like Vancouver Police Department Deputy Chief Fiona Wilson and others, who have stood strong against the previous “use drugs whenever whereever” policy. Those who have voiced concerns should be applauded for their work in securing a critically needed repeal of this misguided policy.” 

The issues around British Columbia’s drug decriminalization and other policy efforts will be a focal point of discussion at the PROSPER Launch and Symposium, happening on May 30 in Vancouver.