The Globe & Mail
North America is in the middle of a health emergency. Life expectancies are declining. Someone is dying every two hours in Canada from illicit drug overdose. Fentanyl has become a looming presence—an opioid more powerful, pervasive, and deadly than any previous street drug.
The victims are many—and often not whom we might expect. They include the poor and forgotten but also our neighbours: professionals, students, and parents. Despite the thousands of deaths, these victims have remained largely invisible.
But not anymore. Benjamin Perrin, a law and policy expert, shines a light in this darkest of corners—and his findings challenge many assumptions about the crisis. Why do people use drugs despite the risk of overdosing? Can we crack down on the fentanyl supply? Do supervised consumption sites and providing “safe drugs” enable the problem? Which treatments work? Would decriminalizing all drugs help or do further harm?
In this urgent and humane look at a devastating epidemic, Perrin draws on behind-the-scenes interviews with those on the frontlines, including undercover police officers, intelligence analysts, border agents, prosecutors, healthcare professionals, Indigenous organizations, activists, and people who use drugs. Not only does he unveil the many complexities of this situation, but he also offers a new way forward—one that may save thousands of lives.
FINALIST: 2021 BC Book Awards' George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature; BC and Yukon Book Prizes, for both the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize and Jim Deva Prize for Writing That Provokes; 2021 J. W. Dafoe Book Prize; 2020 Lane Anderson Award for best science writing in Canada
“Overdose is a necessary and searching investigation into a devastating epidemic that should never have happened. Benjamin Perrin painstakingly shows that it need not continue if we, as a society, heed the evidence.”
—Gabor Maté M.D., author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction
How victims of crime are treated by the justice system has emerged as a major societal issue, spurring legislative reforms, public inquiries, complaints against judges, and public debate. Victim Law: The Law of Victims of Crime in Canada is an invaluable peer-reviewed resource for judges, Crown prosecutors, defence counsel, police, victim service professionals, policy-makers, and scholars.
In this timely book, one of the architects of the new federal Victims Bill of Rights Act examines the growing body of legislation and case law related to victims of crime throughout the criminal justice, corrections, and youth criminal justice systems and under provincial and territorial laws. In addition to providing a comprehensive legal account of victim law, legislative and policy recommendations are made to enhance the responsiveness of the justice system to victims.
This resource separates itself into three parts; Federal Victim Law, Provincial Victim Law, and Territorial Victim Law. Each of these parts discuss in very specific detail the definition of "victim" and go on to related Acts that impact this area of law, including remedies for victims.
Victim Law was cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Friesen, 2020 SCC 9, which is the leading case on sentencing for sexual offences against children. Professor Perrin’s legal scholarship has been cited with approval by other courts across Canada, including the Court of Appeal for British Columbia, the Ontario Court of Justice, the Superior Court of Justice – Ontario, the Provincial Court of Alberta, Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Territorial Court of the Yukon and Nunavut Court of Justice.
“Victim Law is a sobering look at the realities faced by victims of crime. Victims are often marginalized and vulnerable and the law has been slow to recognize their interests and rights. My gratitude on behalf of victims to Benjamin Perrin for writing this book and helping us all better understand these critical issues within our justice system.”
— Sheldon Kennedy, Lead Director, Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre; Co-Founder, Respect Group; Author, Why I Didn’t Say Anything - The Sheldon Kennedy Story and former NHL Hockey Player