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Understanding Community Views on Drug Policy Changes
KFL&A Community Consultation on Decriminalization
The perspectives of people in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington on decriminalization, where possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use would not lead to criminal charges.

There has been an alarming increase in opioid-related deaths in KFL&A since 2015. The KFL&A Community Drug Strategy Advisory Committee continues to look at ways to reduce the harms caused by substance use in our community. Recognizing the harmful impacts of criminalizing drug use, the Committee began exploring alternatives to this approach. In 2023, the Committee conducted a community consultation to hear the community's opinions on the idea of decriminalizing drug possession for personal use.

Know more about the community consultation


What we wanted to know from the community relating to decriminalization?


Community readiness and willingness


Perceived risks and benefits


What decriminalization could look like in KFL&A


Support for decriminalization

Scroll down for key findings and FAQs


Key Findings:

1,775 survey responses


100 focus group participants with lived and living experience in substance use


86% concerned about the drug poisoning crisis


70% agreed drug possession laws should change to support people who uses substances

63% supported decriminalization

There is a cautiously optimistic attitude towards decriminalization, recognizing both its benefits and concerns.



reduced stigma, safer drug use, better access to treatment



community safety, increased drug use, worsening the drug poisoning crisis

The path forward includes:


a comprehensive public health strategy

expert guidance


involvement of people who use substances


Regardless of stance on decriminalization, there is a common agreement on the need for improved mental health and addiction services.

Next Steps:


in-depth discussions with key sectors for a deeper understanding of the impact of decriminalization


assessing health and social service capacity


learning from other regions with decriminalization policies

FAQs: Community Consultation on Decriminalization of Drug Possession for Personal Use

  • Resources for Community Members
    1) Overcoming Stigma Through Language: A Primer Language impacts the way people see themselves and how they are treated. Stigmatizing language around substance use often implies that related harms are due to personal choice or moral failing of the individual. When speaking about substance use, try using person-first and objective language such as person who uses drugs person with lived experience of substance use substance use disorder 2) Reflecting on Stigma Worksheet Developed by the Community Addictions Peer Support Association, this worksheet provides reflective prompts to support community members ability to understand substance use related stigma. 3) Understanding Substance Use Health: A Matter of Equity The purpose of this resource is to introduce a new concept of Substance Use Health that meets the needs of people where they are and is free of stigma. To achieve equitable access to healthcare programs, services, and supports and evidence based information related to substance use health and substance use disorder. This resource aims to: - Define Substance Use Health through a newly established common understanding and standard; - Inform a national conversation on how Substance Use Health can destigmatize substance use and substance use disorder (SUD) and advance health system-level innovation in the care of clients and the treatment of individuals; and - Establish the All People All Pathways approach as a public health model that is barrier-free, client partnered and works within a spectrum model of Substance Use Health. 4) Community Addictions Peer Support Association Youtube Channel
  • Media Resources
    1) Stigma Primer for Journalists This resource provides a guide to better reporting on substance use and the people it impacts.
  • Resources for Practitioners
    Coming soon!
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