VICTORIA – British Columbia is cracking down on pill presses in a bid to ease the ongoing opioid overdose crisis gripping the province.
The provincial government says in a news release that it has introduced legislation restricting the ownership, possession and use of equipment that can be used to make illicit drugs.
Under the new rules, only authorized individuals or corporations would be allowed to own pill presses, gel cap machines and pharmaceutical mixers, and anyone wanting to sell the equipment would be required to register and agree to a criminal record check.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says police have asked for greater control and monitoring of pill presses in order to disrupt the supply of illicit drugs and get counterfeit pills off the streets.
The federal government banned the importation of pill presses without a licence in 2016.
More than 1,400 people died of illicit drug overdoses in B.C. last year.
Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy says the new legislation would make it harder for people to produce and distribute illegal drugs.
“We are losing too many people from all walks of life — friends, neighbours and loved ones — whose lives have been tragically cut short by a toxic, illegal drug supply,” she said in a statement.
“We need to approach this problem from all sides and at all levels to save lives and prevent future tragedies.”