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B.C. opioid compassion club rejected by Health Canada due to dark web purchase plan

Health Canada said in a letter to the group that it could not approve the exemption because it would “allow the purchase of illegally produced controlled substances from illegal vendors on darkweb markets”

The Drug Users Liberation Front submitted a request for exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Acts that would allow them to operate a street level illicit drugs distribution network on the street in the Downtown Eastside using the DULF model.

The way the Drug Users Liberation Front Distribution model is outline, the drugs supply and distribution network is to buy the drugs on the dark web from an anonymous supplier, test it for quality then deal it out to the addicts and receive “payments for substances to maintain at-cost financing“.

Based on the requests structure of the model it was rejected. Health Canada wrote in a letter to the group the exemption request was not approved because it would “allow the purchase of illegally produced controlled substances from illegal vendors on dark web markets. Supplying drugs from the dark web is not a viable option for advancing the objectives of the (Act), namely the protection of public health and the maintenance of public safety.”

Health Canada pointed out the use of the dark web would fund organized crime groups and smaller dial a dealer start-up type operations.

“The anonymity provided by the dark web facilitates criminal marketplaces. For the drugs in question, there is substantial and growing involvement of Canadian organized crime groups in these illegal online markets. Independent criminal entrepreneurs also continue to be involved in online procurement, import, and trafficking of controlled substances from international organized crime groups. All of these activities and groups pose a substantial risk to the public safety of Canadians.” Health Canada wrote.

The group stated that their request was supported by Vancouver Coastal Health, the First Nations Health Authority, the City of Vancouver, the Portland Hotel Society, and the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use.

The group argues Health Canada’s rejection shows a lack of appreciation “that the toxic drug crisis is taking a current and devastating toll on public health and public safety” and there is no legal source to replace the illicit street drugs.

Advocates have been calling on the province of British Columbia to expand its safe supply program, which provides pharmaceutical grade opioids from a regulated source to prevent overdoses from tainted illicit street drugs.

In Vancouver and Victoria, a few federally approved pilot programs are in operation, all of which require a prescription from a doctor or nurse practitioner. So far, 12,000 BC citizens have gained access to the prescribed safe supply.

The debate is currently at a stand still while the government is following the law to not allow the funding of organized crime groups and the advocate groups saying there is a lack of legal options of regulated and licensed producers of the pharmaceutical grade versions of the illicit street drugs.

Drug Users Liberation Front wants to be supplier to the drug users to ensure there is non toxic supply getting to the consumer.

“We know that a compassion club model would increase consumer power and protection, allowing PWUD to know what they are buying, thus preventing death from the unpredictable drug supply” is noted in the posting by the Vancouver Council

However the harm reduction plan appears to be focused on the most strung out drug addicts and didn’t mention anything about a safe supply for recreational users in these documents.

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