Kingston – The Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Community Drug Strategy Advisory Committee (CDSAC) is pleased to announce the release of a comprehensive community consultation report on the decriminalization of drug possession for personal use. This initiative is part of a broader strategy aimed at addressing the drug poisoning crisis in the region, with a strong focus on public health and community well-being.
Recognizing the challenges posed by increasing opioid-related deaths in the KFL&A region, the KFL&A CDSAC established the Alternative to Criminalization subcommittee. Their role was to gather and understand the community’s view on decriminalizing drug possession for personal use. This report explores the community's readiness and willingness to consider decriminalization, the perceptions of risks and benefits of decriminalization, explores what the community thinks decriminalization could look like in the region, and assesses the level of support for decriminalization. It includes findings from both the online survey and focus groups, engaging a diverse range of voices, including individuals with lived and living experience in substance use.
“The effective implementation of any public health initiative relies on engaging the community,” said Susan Stewart, chair of CDSAC and director of community health and well-being at KFL&A Public Health. “This report explores the perspectives of the KFL&A community on the idea of decriminalization, where possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use would not lead to criminal charges. It represents a move towards understanding the complexities of substance use from a community’s standpoint.”
Key findings revealed notable support for decriminalization, highlighting both potential benefits, such as reducing stigma and improving access to treatment and harm reduction services, and concerns about potential unintended consequences. These findings emphasized the need for a careful, well-informed, and thorough exploration of the topic, while taking into account local considerations and its potential impact on the community.
The release of this report marks a pivotal moment for the KFL&A community as it seeks to better understand the community's stance on decriminalization. It lays the groundwork for further discussions and actions, highlighting the CDSAC’s commitment to exploring this complex issue from a community perspective.
To read the full report, visit KFL&A Community Drug Strategy website.
For more information contact:
Communications and Public Relations Specialist
Phone: 613-549-1232, ext. 1521