Join the conversation to improve the conditions faced by people who use drugs in Canada.
is an excellent book about the history of user organizing in Vancouver by people who were there doing it.
Unified Networkers of Drug Users Nationally
Canadian Drug Policy Coalition's report on the failures of criminalization from a Canadian context
UNDUN Statement of Purpose
Victoria's drug user group opens website
The Society of Living Illicit Drug Users (SOLID) is the drug users' group in Vicotia, B.C. This group has been active for several years and has recently developed its website. SOLID is providing vital services in Victoria, which (appallingly) has no needle exchange program run by health-services in the city.
Former NAOMI patients create report of their experiences and recommendations
The NAOMI Patients Association is a group of former patients in the heroin stream of the NAOMI clinical trials which took place in Vancouver in 2008-09.
See more in News section. Download their excellent report here.
Lancet series on drug policy and public health
Renowned medical journal The Lancet has produced a 3 part series assessing the global public-health toll and policy implications of illicit drug production and consumption. Check out this Lancet Series to download .pdf versions of the articles.
Canadian Drug Policy Coalition launches website
The CDPC is a national group of individuals and organizations who are working to present Canadians with an alternative approach to the current war-on-drugs approach being persued by the cretinous Harper Conservatives. Please sign-up for updates at their website.
Global Drug Use Survey
"This year we hope to produce the biggest - and first truly global - survey of drug use amongst young people, clubbers and the wider drug using population ever conducted. It takes about 10-20 minutes to fill in, is completely anonymous and by being part of it, you could help change the world." - visit website
Victory for InSite - but only one site?
It is time for other health authorities to step up to the plate and start implimenting safer consumption facilities for their communities. Harm reduction workers in Toronto make that call and Montreal and Edmonton have will to proceed. However, the InSite ruling was far from imposing an imperative upon the federal government to allow future sites.
And how about safer consumption sites for people who smoke crack or heroin?
See photo of Dean Wilson, planiff in the VANDU submission to the Supreme Court, celebrating the decision on the steps of the Supreme Court.
Overdose Awareness Day, August 31, Ottawa DUAL - Drug Users Advocacy League of Ottawa - will be hosting an Overdose Awarenss Day event on Wednesday, August 31. Meet at the Human Rights Memorial on Elgin St. at 12:30 pm with speakers to begin at 1 pm. Please show your support for harm reduction education. See Ottawa Overdose Awareness Day poster
Children of the Drug War - Free Download
'Children of the Drug War' is a unique collection of original essays that investigates the impacts of the war on drugs on children, young people and their families. Free download by chapters or entire book here
International Drug User Remembrance Day in Canada
Two Canadian drug user groups held in Remembrance Day memorial events in their respective cities of Ottawa and Vancouver on July 21st. DUAL and VANDU brought out users to rememember friends and loved ones who have died preventable deaths as a result of fatal conditions created by the war on drugs approach to people who use currently illicit drugs. See News page for more photos and event write-up. Download excellent report on 2011 Memorial Events here
Count the Costs
Global statements opposing the prohibition of drugs seem to be well in vogue of late. Please sign the latest global statement against the war on drugs, organized by Transform and many other organizations.
As Dylan sang, "if you want to live outside the law, you've got to be honest". Here's a perfect example: Mexican drug lord thanks American lawmakers for the ongoing war on drugs.
Fentanyl - Preparing it carefully
Several people have died or experienced near fatal overdoses when using fentanyl patches for injection. This preventable phenomena has happened in communities right across Canada, from Cape Breton to the West Coast. Recently the user group in Montreal, ADDICQ, prepared a spin-off leaflet to inform people of safer ways to prepare fentanyl and to calculate the dose. Download the leaflet (English and French) here The Site, the principle needle exchange program in Ottawa, has also produced a info document about Fentanyl overdose dangers.
End the War on Drugs (Users) Petition
Please sign the petition which is directed to "Ban Ki-moon and all Heads of State" and calls for an "end the war on drugs and the prohibition regime, and move towards a system based on decriminalisation, regulation, public health and education". Nearly 300,000 have signed thus far, and the goal is half a million.
Sign petition for Global Action on HIV and Injection Drugs
The official declaration from the 2011 International Harm Reduction Conference calls for global action on HIV and injecting drug use. Please take a couple minutes to sign the petition at the Harm Reduction International website (also click on image along under left side menu).
Celebratory Reception for founding of Canadian Drug Policy Consortium
Come meet some of the individuals and organizations involved with the Canadian Drug Policy Consortium on Tuesday, March 8 from 5:30 7:30 at the Hotel Novotel Ottawa. Read more in the News Section or the Reception Invite here
Stuggle to defend Vancouver's Safer Injection Site
Allies of InSite will intervene in the upcoming Supreme Court case. Read more on News page.
Rise and Fall of the Official View of Addiction
Simon Fraser University prof Bruce K. Alexander produces a treatise on the "dislocation theory" of addiction.
Read more on News page.
Our target should be the decision-makers who put politics above evidence and are prepared to take risks with other people's lives
Gerry Stimson, former Executive Director of the International Harm Reduction Association, recently made a major speech in which he said it is time for harm reduction to move beyond trying to change the behaviours of the powerless and start focussing our efforts to change the behaviours of the powerful, particularly those decision-makers who put politics above evidence (Canada's Conservative's are a prime example of such) and, as such, are major harm causers and risk takers with the live's of people who use drugs. See more on the News page.
Two Recent Reports on Drug Policy Changes in Switzerland and Portugal
What we can learn from drug policy change in Switzerland and from illicit drug decriminalization in Portugal are the topics of two recent reports which are highly informative, easy to read, yet comprised of evidence-based research. Drug policy change is so fundamental to drug-related harm reduction for users and society as a whole and it is critical that we look to experiences elsewhere to inform our debates here in Canada. See more on the News page.
VANDU develops a manifesto for a drug users liberation movement
A work in progress, VANDU members have developed their initial July 2010 version of their manifesto for a drug users liberation movement. See more on the News page.
Drug Users Memorial Day Observed in Ottawa
On July 20th in Ottawa a couple dozen people who use (currently illicit) drugs and supporters held a memorial gathering to remember, and protest, the untimely Drug War-related deaths of friends and loved ones. Meeting in a local park to observe Drug Users Memorial Day, people spoke of all-too-many friends who've died over the past couple of decades as a result HIV. Hepatitis C, infections, and overdoses - all causes of premature death for drug users that would be greatly preventable were there less hardship and stigma and greater implementation of proven harm reduction programs for users of currently illicit drugs.
See more Ottawa memorial pictures on the News page
The Vienna Declaration: A Global Call to Action for Science-Based Drug Policy
Please support the Vienna Declaration, an international call for the incorporation of scientific evidence into illicit drug policies. This push is particularly relevant to the struggle to continue operating Insite (safer injection facility) in Vancouver which is under attack by the federal Conservatives who are presently following an ideological, instead of scientific, approach to drug policy in Canada.
Organizing the Canadian Association of People Who Use(d) Drugs
Over the weekend of June 12/13, 2010 several activists for people who use(d) drugs in Canada met in Toronto with commitment to push on with the founding of CAPUD - the Canadian Association of People Who Use(d) Drugs. See Projects
Detailed report on Adulterants
The The Centre for Public Health at Liverpool University has released a detailed report on adulterants used in cutting illicit substances. Appropriately entitled CUT, it shows what is used to rip you off and endanger your health. See more in the News section.
Users Involvement and Organizing in Harm Reduction
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has released a comprehensive overview of the harm reduction field. Included is a chapter on users involvement.
Report Positively Corrolates Drug Law Enforcement and Drug-Related Violence
The Urban Health Research Initiative at U.B.C. has released a report which suggests that Canada’s war on drugs has failed to curb the illicit drug trade, and proposed legal interventions to disrupt the drug market (eg. Bill C-15)may actually dramatically boost rates of drug-related violence.
Read more at News page. Download the report here
Victoria Police Department attempts to quash free speech
Victoria Police Department active duty police officer David Bratzer was planning to accept an invitation to speak about drug policy and harm reduction at an official city government-sponsored event until his police department's leadership stepped in and ordered him not to show up.
Read more and sign petition here
Randy Beddow Dies in Victoria
Randy was a long-time user activist with SOLID. See more in News Section
Still Not Fixed Forum in Victoria Harm Reduction Victoria is holding a public forum on October 1st to discuss the issues of needle exchange, supervised consumption and how harm reduction services contribute to safer communities. Currently Victoria is without a fixed needle exchange program because a portion of the downtown has been red-zone for harm reduction services (i.e. harm reduction services are not allowed in that area). See News Section for more info.
Opiod Prescribing article in CMAJ
A recently released article "Opioid prescribing challenges doctors" in the Canadian Medical Association Journal deals with a topic which is relevant to heroin and morphine users in Canada. The article quotes Deb and Brent from UNDUN who favour changes in policy which would enable general practicing doctors to be able to prescribe pharmaceutical opiates to people who are currently dependent illicit users. See CMAJ's website for the full article
International Overdose Awareness Day August 31, 2009
The Salvation Army of Australia has released a couple good videos as part of their campaign for Overdose Awareness Day. One video is a collection of stories from heroin users, and one is from a harm reduction practitioners' perspective. Find both at the Sally Ann's website
Cost Comparison of Prohibition and Regulation
Another excellent, comprehensive report from Transform. Their latest report
compares the costs of the current prohibition system with that of a regulated system of drugs. Download the report from here
Cut used with Cocaine causes bone marrow suppression
Saskatoon Public Health newsletter (p.3) reports that a new potentially lethal agranulocytosis (failure of the bone marrow to make enough white blood cells) side effect has been noticed as a complication of injecting illicit drugs that have been contaminated (cut) with Levamisole (a de-worming drug used in vet medicine). The neutropenia caused is acute and profound, associated commonly with a neutrophil count of zero.
In a cocaine user or suspected cocaine user, any symptoms of infection including fevers warrant an urgent CBC and differential to look for neutropenia. Urine toxicology should also be sent simultaneously looking for cocaine and levamisole.
Cocaine cut with this potentially lethal cut has been detected in Alberta, Saskatewan, Manitoba and some U.S. states.
Pot Activist Still Fighting Extradition
Marc Emery was busted by the DEA in 2005 for selling pot seeds online, even though Marc's operation was located in Vancouver, B.C.
For reasons of national sovereignty alone, this case is significant. However, the reason Marc (and two others) were busted in the first place was because some of the profits from their seed-selling business had been funding numerous pot initiatives and assisting other anti-prohibition efforts for well over a decade. Marc's bust was clearly politically motivated by U.S. war on drugs efforts.
For an extensive review of the history of Marc's case thus far, check out a very complete report at Cannabis Culture
Pacific Summit on Drug User Health
From June 12-14 about 100 user activists from all over B.C. and the Yukon meet in Vancouver to strategize and form the BC/Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors (see Constitution). This landmark Summit for user organizing was organized and hosted by VANDU. A summary report about the Summit can be read here
VANDU presented an excellent report at the Summit on the Health Status of People Who Use Illicit Drugs in British Columbia. View a slideshow of the report here
International Activists Protest Narcotics Commission
Demonstrating at the opening session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, Austria in March some two dozen international user activists call for Drug War Peace. See more in News section.
Belleville Users Hep C Support <-- click to see larger image
Some participants in the Belleville Drug Users Hep C Support Group send "Seasons Greetings!" to express their solidarity with VANDU, the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, for their inspirational work on behalf of health and human rights for injection drug users in Canada.
International Drug Users Day
IDUD2008 is being hosted by BrugerForeningen - the Danish Drug Users Union - on October 31, 2008 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Some 28 countries will be represented, including several activists from Canada.
See photos of this historic gathering of international drug user activists here and here
Stephen Harper: The Pinocchio Effect
View the Video produced for the upcoming federal election by Canadians for Common Sense on Drug Policy. The video reveals a few of the many lies the Conservatives are spreading in their Anti-Drug Strategy, which mimics a U.S. style War on Drug Users.
See an example of Conservatives' pre-election hysteria pamphlet regarding crime and substance users. The pamphlet begins with the line "Junkies and drug pushers don't belong near children and families". That line typifies the Conservative's self-proclaimed "compassion" toward substance users. View pamphlet