Portuguese expert urges Canada to declare overdose crisis a health emergency (Crosstown Clinic)

The head of Portugal’s addictions directorate is urging Canada to declare the opioid overdose crisis a national health emergency.

On a tour of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the inner-city neighbourhood that is home to many people who struggle with addictions and mental health, Dr. Joao Goulao said the sheer number of deaths caused by the tainted supply of illicit drugs warrants the declaration.

“Decriminalization is important,” he told reporters outside Vancouver’s Crosstown Clinic, the only clinic in Canada to offer prescription heroin to patients. “We are dealing with a disease, so it makes no sense to criminalize people. And it’s important to reduce stigma.

Jen St. Denis reports

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