City of Regina, police to create report on decriminalizing simple possession of drugs

Regina police and the city of Regina have been tasked with compiling a report regarding the decriminalization of drug possession.

The topic was discussed as a motion at Tuesday’s Regina Board of Police Commissioners meeting.

The motion, which was put forward by Regina Ward 3 Coun. Andrew Stevens and commissioner Juliet Bushi, recommends researching and analyzing the decriminalization of small quantity possession of drugs such as opioids.

Read more: New Saskatchewan overdose numbers show old pattern

The motion calls for the report to examine the feasibility and implications of providing a safe drug supply in Regina to address the addictions crisis and the growing number of overdoses in the community.

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The report will also feature input from partner organizations such as harm reduction services.

Regina Police Chief Evan Bray said decriminalization is not just about taking away the ability to charge someone with drugs on them and walking away, but it’s additionally finding a way to get the health assistance they need.

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He added that this is really about trying to put police efforts and attention on things that have true impacts on community safety.

“Many times what they need is real structured support, counselling and services that need to be provided from a health lens, addictions lens and sometimes mental health might be wrapped up in there as well,” Bray said.

“If they get healthy, then the need and requirement for drugs in the community goes down, which has a great effect on lowering crime rates and victimization in our city.”

Bray mentioned how there were 393 simple drug possession charges in 2020, and 172 so far in 2021.

He admitted the drug problem in Regina is as serious and as large — if not larger — than it has ever been.

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There have been 993 reported overdoses and 72 apparent deaths in 2021 in Regina.

In July alone there were 182 overdoses.

The report will be looked over at a public board meeting in the first quarter of next year.

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