by Harvey Oberfeld

Keeping it Real...

April 28, 2024

It was an experiment that went wrong … terribly wrong, after the BC NDP government one year ago decriminalized possession and use of small amounts of hard drugs.

The results: increased open hard drug use in several BC urban communities, not less; more opioid drug deaths, not less; more urban streets/parks, needle/social decay problems, not less; more drugged-up crazies wandering the streets scaring/threatening passersby; more retail thefts, vandalism, and more actual acts of violence in commercial, residential and even recreational areas, not less.

The NDP’s pandering to the druggies created urban communities in BC where many people feared to tread outside their homes, unless accompanied by others.

It not only destroyed Vancouver’s Granville Street as a shopping, dining, entertainment hub, but also led to increased crime/violent attacks/even murder on neighbouring streets/areas as well.

Other cities across BC experienced similar increases in open hard drug use, and also suffered from increases in thefts, drug-crazed public safety incidents and frightening unprovoked violent attacks against citizens, who were just going about their business.

The Vancouver-based media (I do not do detailed monitoring of media from other parts of the province) have been very soft on the NDP government, but I believe one day historians will agree with what I have written repeatedly on the blog … that the “bleeding heart” policies/actions/ideological blindness of the current NDP provincial government, aided and abetted in Vancouver’s case by the former extreme left City Council, did terrible damage to the social fabric/safety/economy of the city … and probably, many other BC urban communities have endured similar problems as well as a result of the NDP’s open “drug use is okay” policies.

Something had to give!

The final straw? The revelation, through a leaked memo to the BC United Opposition, that under the NDP-introduced policy , open hard drug use was even being allowed by patients in BC hospitals … potentially increasing problems/safety of other already-vulnerable and stressed out patients, staff and visitors.

Open hard drug use in hospitals … okay under the NDP!!!

When that was revealed, the government’s response? A promise to hire 320 more Security Officers to work in health facilities!


Last Friday, though, in the face of growing public angst/anger/fear and community, business and hospital staff open concerns/complaints … and maybe even our rants on this blog … the NDP government too had enough!

Premier David Eby announced that BC would backtrack and re-criminalize once more the use of drugs in public spaces.

“The province has made an urgent request to Health Canada to make amendments to B.C.’s exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to give police the power to step in when they see illicit drug use in public spaces, including inside hospitals, on transit and in parks,” The Vancouver Sun reported.

(The province had tried to specifically ban drug use from parks and playgrounds etc before, but a challenge by druggie supporters/advocates tied that up in Court … possibly for years. The Health Canada approach apparently will circumvent that and expedite the ban.)

It was the right move.

Possession/use of small amounts of drugs in private or sanctioned indoor locations will remain decriminalized.

And let’s keep it real: police will not likely be wholesale arresting people toking up as they walk down the street or even those using hard drugs in alleyways or other discreet outdoor locations, but at least the change could stop the open shooting up on sidewalks, in store doorways, in parks or even playgrounds, as had become so prevalent.

“Premier David Eby said during a news conference Friday that police need tools to address extraordinary circumstances where people are compromising public safety through their drug use,” The Sun said.

You can read the full Sun story here:

The province’s move is a good start to taking back our streets, parks, beaches and playgrounds … so the majority of the population can enjoy them, without feeling unsafe or worried that there’s a good chance their kids could be exposed to used needles laying somewhere nearby on the pavement, on the ground, in the grass or in the sand.

This does not mean that most British Columbians are not sympathetic or not concerned about hard drug users suffering from their affliction.

There should also be a major increase in funding for treatment programs and facilities to get off drugs those who want help to do so … but now can’t find it.

And the province and the federal government should also change the laws to force the judges too, in our current “injustice” system, to keep repeat drug dealers, violent offenders and multi-conviction recidivist thieves in custody for more than a few hours.

Then … and only then … can the reclaiming of BC cities’ core areas begin, to restore them to people places, where shoppers, diners and families can return … day or night … without the fear of facing danger.

And re-criminalizing open use of drugs in public places was a good start.

Harv Oberfeld




  1. To put this all in ridiculous perspective Harv: a friend temporarily parked an uninsured car on the street. Cop pulls up. Says to unwitting car owner: I could fine you 600 dollars. In fact ICBC would actually like us to arrest uninsured vehicle owners. Cop cut him a break and gave him a 60 dollar ticket. Point is: lock up uninsured car owners, but in Comrade Eby’s world, open drug use in hospitals is OK. Is this the twilight zone? Where am I?