Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles does anyone think that Canadian drug policy is working? I don't. We create compassionate policies and consider yourself one of the most progressive countries in the world, and we probably are. The problem is that our progressive approach is actually costing us lives. Canadian lives that could be saved. It's time to re imagine how we do addiction treatment in Canada because there is a better way for it. Since 2016 we've lost over 12,000 Canadians to addiction and overdose in BC. You're 17 times more likely to die of an overdose, then buy a homicide. In the past four years, we've been losing over four people a day in this province, and I don't think that's good enough. Somewhere along the line, we just started accepting that when people are down, they're not gonna get back up. You see NBC 90% of all funding goods store. It's harm reduction, things like substitute medications, clean needles, safe injection sites and other policy prescriptions that designed to keep people alive. And they have married. They're good. They do work my problems with the funding discrepancy. See, only 10% of all funds go towards actual rehabilitation. The one thing that can get people to living their best lives once again in Canada, we have socialized medicine. I like it. Most people like it, but somehow addiction is the Onley fatal disease whereby treatment isn't guaranteed. If you're extremely poor, you could get put on a wait list for a government funded bed. A wait list that might last you multiple months long and never guarantee you a place in the center. If you have money or your family is wealthy, they can send you to a private treatment center, A private rehab, one of one of the many that dot, dot, dot across our country. And I'm fine with that. If you can pay your freight, we should accept people paying their freight. The problem is that the majority of Canadians end up somewhere in the middle. Families who have paid taxes their entire lives are put into a difficult position. They need to help their family member, but they can't really afford it. They're asked to cash in their R S. P s take out a second mortgage on their house. If they own a house or take on high interest loans, all they want to do is save their loved one, and they often end up mortgaging their future. Clearly a healthcare matter. The addiction file has been steadily removed from the Ministry of Health. New ministries of mental health and addiction have been popping up in all the provinces. Sounds good, doesn't it? Here's the problem. The Ministry of Health NBC has funded to the tune of $20 billion a year. 20 billion is in $1,020,000 a year. What about the Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction? $70 million a year. Addiction is drastically underfunded, but here's the thing. It's not actually cheaper funding harm reduction than it is funding treatment, and I have a dirty little secret for you. Treatment can actually pay for itself when it's prioritized. Money is too often the decider about whether people get help or not. Money is too often the decider about whether people get better. Addiction costs a lot of money. Okay, In Canada, addiction cost us about $40 billion a year. 15 billion tau lost productivity alone. Another 11 billion health care costs tack on another nine for criminal justice. No matter how you look at it, this is an expensive problem. Yeah, each addict costs Canada about $40,000 a year, yet you can pay to send someone to treatment for a few months for as little as 6 to 10,000. The problem. The government is on Lee willing to pay for people if they qualify for social assistance. You have to be extremely poor. And for people they're willing to pay for, they only pay $40 a day. Now. Since I have you hostage here, I want to ask the audience a question. How much does your life cost you A day? Me to $40 a day doesn't get us very far. The reality is that the level of care that places are able to provide for the rate that the government is willing to pay adds up to only board and housing, getting paid cover food. But you can't cover any real programming, and that's the problem. In Canada, the mean income is about $50,000 a year. Your average worker will end up paying about 10,000 and taxes on that. So for every person we can put through treatment and return to productivity, they will be putting $10,000 a year into government coffers. But then you add in the fact that they no longer cost the government $40,000 that the snap of a finger. You've a $50,000 swing in the right direction for every one person we can put through treatment and get them to stay sober and working for 20 years. You have a $1,000,000 swing in the right direction. So here's the reality. If we can have one out of 100 people, we put through treatment. Stay sober for 20 years. Treatment pays for itself right now. The system were running does not work. We're hemorrhaging money. Family's heir Hurting Death is all too common, and addicts are staying addicted. Access to treatment needs to be guaranteed for everyone. And that's the compassionate approach all of us know about the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver. It's horrible. There are people living in abject squalor down there. It's completely horrific. The reality is using harm reduction exclusively is not working. We know that we see that there's human suffering on a grand scale happening. Our addiction system is at a breaking point. Everyone knows it, but no one wants to talk about it. Now I want to take you across the Atlantic. Let's look at Switzerland. They have the same addiction policies. Is all the other Western countries for a long time zero tolerance Drug laws, Minimal access to treatment? By the seventies and eighties, they had some of the worst addiction rates in the world. Disease was through the roof. The sound familiar. Open air drug use was happening everywhere in the eighties. They got fed up with it. They introduced a new policy prescription called the Three Pillar Approach Number one. They went with prevention. All of us recognize that the best way to deal with the long term implications of addiction is to actually prevent addiction from happening in the first place. Logical stuff, of course. Number two therapy. They decided then and there that access to treatment will be available for everyone who needed it. Free of charge covered by the state logical and number three enforcement utilizing a non punitive fashion. It was the mechanism to get people back to pillar number two therapy. The whole It was a cycle. Now, in the nineties, they introduced a new pillar risk reduction. What we what we call harm reduction. Any rational person would recognize that. We're not just gonna magically make everyone who does drugs stop. Not everyone who does drugs is gonna magically get better. We need to recognize that now. For people who can't or won't stop, restoration of dignity needs to be the priority we want. We want to allow them to avoid living a life of crime. We want them to get back on their feet now. Obviously, harm reduction is a last resort. It's not ideal. We all know that. But it's necessary in some cases now for them. Instead of just producing and providing substitute drugs, they recognize that there were other needs. There was a need for housing. They hooked people up with employers. So before you get jobs again, as I said, dignity became the key. Now they came to an amazing realization. Okay, Lost productivity was not due to drug use alone. It had just a CZ much to do with the amount of effort and hustle people had to do to get the drugs to feel their addiction in the first place. When you remove that amazing things happen. Now, this policy was on. Lee rolled out in certain towns and cantons in Switzerland. Initially, in 2008 they had a referendum. The referendum was about rolling this around Countrywide. It passed with 68% support. Has anything in Canada ever passed with 68% support? It's an overwhelming mandate now. Of course, there will always be opposition to change. That's just a reality. But in the end, good policy prescriptions will win the day. Now in Canada. I think it's time for us to recognize that are one size fits all. Policy is not working. Our overuse of harm reduction is actually robbing people of the chance to get the treatment they need. It's also diluting. The resource is available to the people who actually need harm reduction in the first place. We need to be able to put more money into the housing and allow them to get jobs, whatever they can do. If it's prioritized, treatment can pay for itself. But we really need to re imagine how we're doing it. We need to stop turning a blind eye to the suffering that's happening happening around us. Productivity and a restoration of productivity needs to be made a key factor. We need to be willing to leverage the criminal justice system to get people to help. They need help they need is treatment. In a lot of cases, we're finally starting to recognize that addiction is a disease. Addiction is not a moral failing, and I think it's time for the Ministry of Health. Start treating addiction as it does any other health care issue. It's a health care crisis. We need a compassionate approach, not just because of the death and suffering, but because economically it makes sense. Maybe it's time for a Swiss model in Canada, thanks.