Victoria is now the second city in Canada, after Toronto, to officially back the Vienna Declaration, which calls for governments to ease up on strict law enforcement and instead develop drug policies based on scientific evidence.
Victoria City councillors voted Thursday to ratify their unanimous endorsement of the declaration, which was announced at the 2010 International AIDS conference in Vienna in July.
“Scientific evidence shows that drug use is a public health issue that cannot be resolved through excessive reliance on law enforcement,” said Victoria Coun. Philippe Lucas.
In Canada, the declaration has been signed by five chief provincial medical health officers and the Canadian Public Health Association.
“Future progress will require a rebalancing of efforts to ensure that prevention, treatment and harm minimization become primary policy strategies,” said Paul Hasselback, chair of the Health Officers Council of B.C.