Skip to main content
SearchLoginLogin or Signup

“There are solutions and I think we're still working in the problem”: The limitations of decriminalization under the good Samaritan drug overdose act and lessons from an evaluation in British Columbia, Canada

Published onMay 25, 2022
“There are solutions and I think we're still working in the problem”: The limitations of decriminalization under the good Samaritan drug overdose act and lessons from an evaluation in British Columbia, Canada
key-enterThis Pub is a Version of
“There are solutions and I think we're still working in the problem”: The limitations of decriminalization under the good Samaritan drug overdose act and lessons from an evaluation in British Columbia, Canada
Description

Background Drug prohibition has been associated with increased risk of overdose. However, drug prohibition remains the dominant drug policy, including in Canada with the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. In 2017, the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act (GSDOA) was enacted, to encourage people to contact emergency medical services by providing bystanders at the scene of an overdose with legal protection for simple possession and conditions related to simple possession. Methods We conducted an evaluation of the GSDOA in British Columbia, Canada that included one-on-one interviews with people who use illicit drugs (PWUD), to determine peoples’ experiences and perceptions surrounding this form of decriminalization. We present findings from a thematic analysis of 37 interviews. Results We identified limitations of the GSDOA at overdose events; key themes and concerns causing PWUD to hesitate to or avoid contacting emergency medical services included drug confiscation, the thin line between simple possession and drug trafficking, and enforcement of other charges and court ordered conditions that are not legally protected by the GSDOA. Moreover, participants discussed the GSDOA as inequitable; benefiting some while excluding PWUD with intersecting marginalized identities. Conclusion Our findings are pertinent in light of many jurisdictions across the world considering dejure decriminalization, including BC and Vancouver. The GSDOA and associated limitations that emerged in our evaluation can serve to guide jurisdictions implementing or amending dejure decriminalization policies.

 

Comments
0
comment

No comments here

Why not start the discussion?