Alberta's second-quarter Opioid Response Surveillance Report was released on Sept. 23, 2020. (File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

More action required in fight against overdose crisis: Vernon councillor

Coun. Kelly Fehr’s notice of motion calls on Ottawa for pan-Canadian plan

A Vernon city councillor is looking to up the ante in the fight against the overdose crisis and see simple drug possession decriminalized.

In a notice of motion, Coun. Kelly Fehr calls on the federal government to declare the overdose crisis a national public health emergency and urges the City of Vernon to engage with local agencies to see how it can help.

“Lives continue to be lost at record-breaking numbers due to the overdose crisis,” Fehr wrote in his rationale, pointing to the staggering 1,548 illicit drug deaths in the province in 2020 according to the BC Coroner Services report.

“It is clear that new approaches and additional actions are needed to adequately address this crisis,” Fehr wrote. “The recommendations in this report are actions that Vernon can take to help.”

Fehr’s motion calls on the federal government to develop a pan-Canadian overdose action plan based on input from those most affected by the crisis, with provincial and territorial input.

If passed as presented, council would also voice its support of both the City of Vancouver and the province in its efforts to decriminalize simple drug possession.

Council would also share the report with neighbouring municipalities and urge councils to follow suit.

The motion will come before council for discussion on March 8.

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@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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