Across Canada there is growing interest in ensuring that the principle of “ Nothing About Us Without Us” is not only honoured, but truly respected. Facilitating meaningful inclusion of people who use drugs by offering attendance alone is a fail. Rather, people who use drugs must be stakeholders with equal standing in all aspects of implementing conferences and events. But how do you do that effectively? In this #StimulusConnect we will look at the experience of the national conference Stimulus 2018: Drugs, Policy and Practice, you’ll hear how we ensured people who use drugs led the way in the organization and delivery of the event, including the implementation of an overdose prevention service.

In preparation we gathered a few resources, documents and media articles that you may be find helpful.

Information on Stimulus 2018: Drugs, Policy and Practice

  1. Video: Stimulus 2018: Drugs, Policy and Practice in Canada conference video, 9 minutes
  2. Video: Stimulus 2018 Highlights, 2.48 minutes
  3. Journal Article: Supporting the full participation of people who use drugs in policy fora: Provision of a temporary, conference-based overdose prevention site, October 2020
  4. Call to Action: Canada-wide coalition calls for end to the toxic drug supply and decriminalization of possession of currently illegal drugs, Stimulus Conference October 3, 2019
  5. Tool: YEG Drug Guide Fall 2018 Final
  6. Report: Stimulus 2018: Drugs, Policy and Practice in Canada Final Report
  7. Report: Stimulus 2018: Drugs, Policy and Practice Evaluation Report

Other Documents

  1. Journal Article: Mobilizing drug policy activism: conferences, convergence spaces and ephemeral fixtures in social movement mobilization, 2015
  2. Journal Article: Engaging people who use drugs in policy and program development: A review of the literature, 2012
  3. Journal Article: Coexisting or conjoined: The growth of the international drug users’ movement through participation with International Harm Reduction Association Conferences, 2010
  4. CRISM PWLE National Working Group “Having a voice and saving lives” A survey by and for people who use drugs and work in harm reduction.
  5. Resource: Harm Reduction Services: Recommendations for Overdose Prevention at Meetings and Events, 2019
A sign reading "defund the police"

Have you considered why most harm reduction and drug policy activists support the movement to Defund the Police? How are harm reduction philosophy, drug policy reform and the movement to defund the police linked? How do the police benefit from the criminalization of people who use drugs? Defund the Police has been a strong rally cry in the US and Canada. #StimulusConnect will discuss why defunding the police is an essential part of harm reduction based practice. Join our Canadian panelists for Defunding the Police, a moderated discussion.

In preparation we gathered a few resources, documents and media articles that you may be find helpful.


  1. Event: Manifestation: Defund the Police! Justice pour les victimes de bavures policières
  2. Petition: Reallocate the Calgary Police Service Budget and Reinvest in Our Communities Now
  3. Email Zap: Defund the Police
  4. Email Zap: CPEP Prisoner Rights
  5. Donate: Black Lives Matter Vancouver
  6. Donate: Justice for Jamiel after Brutal Beating by VPD
  7. Donate: Black Lives Matter YYC Society
  8. Website: Defund the Police
  9. Website: Defund the Police (international website, Canada page)
  10. Website: Defund2Fund Coalition 
  11. Website: Criminalization and Punishment Education Project (CPEP)
  12. Website: #DefundTheSPVM (Montreal, QC Police) and their 10 Demands
  13. Website:
  14. Journal Article: Race, cannabis and the Canadian war on drugs: An examination of cannabis arrest data by race in five cities, October 1, 2020
  15. Journal Article: Youthful Discretion: Police Selection Bias in Access to Pre-Charge Diversion Programs in Canada, December 5, 2019
  16. Letter: Calls for Vancouver Police to stop undermining public health in the DTES
  17. Letter: Call for the Legal Community to Address Anti-Black Racism
  18. Letter: Premier Horgan urged to deploy a public health response to housing not enforcement, April  24,2020
  19. Opinion: Meenakshi Mannoe: Snap election delays police reform in B.C., September 27,2020
  20. Video: Defund the Police, October 13, 2020,
  21. Video: Semir Bulle – Save the World by Defunding the Police, October 6, 2020
  22. Video: Kate Macdonald and Trayvone Clayton talk with The Coast about systemic racism in Nova Scotia, May 6, 2020
  23. Podcast: Crackdown
  24. Podcast: Can Harm Reduction and Cops Coexist? September 3, 2020
  25. Podcast: A fatal 12-story fall, and a no-knock police search
  26. Podcast: Beyond Borders – “Drug War Capitalism”, March 8, 2019
  27. News: RCMP Comment on NS lobster dispute
  28. News: Black, Indigenous people receive apology for systemic racism in Nova Scotia, September 30, 2020
  29. News: Documents reveal details of Ontario police misuse of COVID-19 database, September 29, 2020
  30. News: Black Lives Matter has more support among Canadians than Americans: poll, September 24, 2020
  31. News: Officers feeling stressed due to police abolishment movements: Winnipeg Police Chief, September 24, 2020
  32. News: Alberta government expands criminal charge pre-screening pilot project, September 2, 2020
  33. Resource: What Defunding the Police Really Means
  34. Resource: Act Now! Decriminalizing Drugs in Vancouver
  35. Resource: So you don’t support defunding the police?
  36. Resource: Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy
  37. Resource: Call for the Legal Community to Address Anti-Black Racism
  38. Resource: What Does It Mean To “Defund The Police”? Trending Words In News About Policing


  1. Pledge: Reimagine Policing: Reimagining Policing Pledge is a call for mayors and local officials to review and reform use of force policies, redefine public safety, and combat systemic racism within law enforcement.
  2. Video: Racism and the Drug War by Urban Survivors Union
  3. News: Disability Justice Is an Essential Part of Abolishing Police and Prisons, October 7, 2020
  4. News: We Are Nurses, Not Police. The US Methadone System Expects Otherwise., October 7, 2020
  5. News: The 2020 Uprising: Abolition Gets a Seat at the Table, June 8, 2020
  6. News: Cages Don’t Always Have Bars: How “Reforms” Swelled the Carceral State, August 25, 2020
  7. Opinion: The moment to rethink school safety, October 14, 2020
  8. Opinion: Can Prosecutors Be Taught to Avoid Jail Sentences? August 25, 2020

September 23, 2020

Canada is experiencing the worst ever overdose poisoning epidemic in our country’s history. Over 70% of overdose deaths are related to highly concentrated fentanyl in the unregulated and toxic drug market. Access to a safe supply of drugs is urgently needed. Building on previous webinars and discussions by prescribers and researchers about safe supply My Safe Supply: Stimulus Connect 5 features Canadians who use drugs sharing how they want safe supply delivered. What does autonomy and access within safe supply mean? Please join us as we connect and learn from their experience in advocating for, trying to access safe supply and living with safe supply.

In preparation we gathered a few resources, documents and media articles that you may be find helpful.


  1. Website: The Canadian Association for Safe Supply is a person who uses drugs led activist group and nationally incorporated non-profit organization founded in 2019. Their resources page also includes:
    1. PDF support letter to give to prescribing physicians within the covid-19 and overdose crises
    2. Briefing Note: Informing Your Consent Regarding Issues of the Safe Supply Options for Opioids in the “Risk Mitigation in the Context of Dual Public Health Emergencies” Guideline.
  2. Website: Access Safe Supply BC. Their webpage also includes:
    1. A map to find an organized drug user group near you
    2. Safe Supply Resources
  3. Petition: The Municipal Drug Strategy Coordinators Network of Ontario (MDSCNO) calls on the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario to immediately increase funding for safer supply initiatives to improve the health, safety and well- being of people who use drugs in Ontario, August, 2020
  4. Petition: Safe supply of drugs in the Yukon – Support. Don’t Punish.
  5. Email Zap: Safe Supply- Email Zap for prescribers National Days of Action on The Overdose Crisis 2020
  6. Opinion: A Domestic Safe Supply of Injectable Heroin Would Save Lives, August 10, 2020
  7. Journal Article: ‘Safer opioid distribution’ as an essential public health intervention for the opioid mortality crisis – Considerations, options and examples towards broad-based implementation, November 2020
  8. Journal Article: Motivations to initiate injectable hydromorphone and diacetylmorphine treatment: A qualitative study of patient experiences in Vancouver, Canada, November 2020
  9. Journal Article: Barriers and facilitators to a novel low-barrier hydromorphone distribution program in Vancouver, Canada: a qualitative study, September 15, 2020
  10. Journal Article: A safer drug supply: a pragmatic and ethical response to the overdose crisis, August 24, 2020
  11. Journal Article: Safer opioid distribution in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, July 27, 2020
  12.  Journal Article:Tackling the overdose crisis: The role of safe supply, June 2020
  13. Journal Article: Practices of care among people who buy, use, and sell drugs in community settings, May 2020
  14. Journal Article: Stimulant safe supply: a potential opportunity to respond to the overdose epidemic, January 2020
  15. Journal Article: Problematizing the DSM-5 criteria for opioid use disorder: A qualitative analysis, 2020
  16. Journal Article: Addiction and Heroin-Assisted Treatment: Legal Discourse and Drug Reform, 2019
  17. Journal Article: Yet they failed to do so: recommendations based on the experiences of NAOMI research survivors and a call for action, 2013
  18. Letter: Letter from the Minister of Health regarding treatment and safer supply, August 24, 2020
  19. Letter: An Open Letter calling for Public Drug Coverage of High Dose Injectable Hydromorphone for People Who Use Opioids in Ontario
  20. News: London-based safe opioid supply program gets $6.5M boost from the feds, September 21, 2020
  21. News: Afternoon Drive with Chris dela Torre: A program pioneered in London that offers safe drugs to opioid users has attracted some major federal funding, September 21, 2020
  22. News: Kitchener council endorses safe supply initiative, September 17, 2020
  23. News: B.C. authorizes nurses to prescribe safe alternatives to toxic street drugs. Overdose deaths in B.C. have spiked since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. September 16, 2020
  24. News: New public health order to help slow B.C.’s overdose crisis, September 16, 2020
  25. News: Researchers Confirm the Lifesaving Power of a Safe Supply of Drugs, September 16, 2020
  26. News: ‘Life-saving and Life-changing’: BC’s Safe Supply Program Gets Major Expansion: More drugs covered, more people eligible and increased access all promised as part of overdose crisis response. September 16, 2020
  27. News: After Another 175 Overdose Deaths in July, Advocates Want Action, August 25, 2020
  28. News: Canadian Association for Safe Supply CEO Jordan Westfall says record overdose deaths justify offering untainted drugs, August 25, 2020
  29. News: Canadian Drug Users Need Us Doctors to Step Up With Safe Supply, August 24, 2020
  30. News: Drug Users Call for Safe Supply of Heroin and Cocaine, and Show How It’s Done, June 23, 2020
  31. News: B.C. releases plan to provide safe supply of drugs during COVID-19 pandemic, March 26. 2020
  32. Resource: Heroin Compassion Clubs: A cooperative model to reduce opioid
    overdose deaths & disrupt organized crime’s role in fentanyl, money laundering & housing unaffordability
  33. Resource: Toolkit for Substance Use and Addictions Program Applicants, August 2019 Resource: Medications and other clinical approaches to support physical distancing for people who use substances during the COVID-19 pandemic
  34. Resource: Securing Safe Supply During COVID-19 and Beyond: Scoping Review and Knowledge Mobilization
  35. Resource: Safe Supply Concept Document by CAPUD
  36. Resource: Safe Supply Advocacy Tool by the BC Association of People on Methadone
  37. Resource: Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
  38. Resource: Safer Opioid Supply Programs (SOS): A Harm Reduction Informed Guiding Document for Primary Care Teams, April 2020
  39. Resource: Safe supply: The debate around prescribing opioids to people who use drugs, August 15, 2019
  40. Resource: Prescriber Guidelines for Risk Mitigation in the Context of Dual Public Health Emergencies, Notification to all prescribers in the Vanc
    ouver Coastal Health (VCH) region,
    April 8, 2020
  41. Resource: Risk Mitigation: In the Context of Dual Public Health Emergencies, March 2020
  42. Resource: Federation of Canadian Municipalities Increasing Access to Safe Supply Programs to Treat Substance Use Disorder
  43. Resource: Safer Supply Advocacy and Resource Handout rp1
  44. Video: MySafe Project – We Have An Alternative
  45. Podcast: Crackdown Episode 15: Apocalypse Prescribing please review other Crackdown Podcasts as other episodes include Safe Supply as well


  1. Webinar: Virtual Office Hours: Safe Supply with Dr Kim Sue , August 19, 2020

July 30, 2020

Women experience increased barriers to health and social services, and when they use drugs and/or engage in sex work they experience additional stigma and discrimination. Women who are pregnant experience the additional judgements of government authorities and many health care providers about the choices they make including: to carry or not carry a fetus, to parent or give a child up, to access or not access prenatal care. In addition power imbalances in relationships mean that as injection drug users they are often second on the needle, reliant on a male for drugs to be injected.

There are a range of factors, and layers of overlapping oppression including sexism, racism, and classism, that lead women to need women-centred harm reduction programs and policies responsive to their lived realities. Their resilience is our teacher.

To add the English subtitles, please follow the following steps:

  1. Go to the bottom of the Youtube video, click on “Youtube”
  2. Click on CC
  3. Click on settings, click on subtitles, click on English (automatically generated)


In preparation we gathered a few resources, documents and media articles that you may be find helpful.


(From outside Canada)

Friday, June 26, 2020

International Day of Global Action for Support Don’t Punish – a global grassroots campaign centred on raising the awareness of harm reduction policies, public health, and human rights. This year, CSSDP partnered with Support. Don’t Punish, Stimulus Connect and Paradigma to facilitate two webinars on June 26, the Global Day of Action. Simultaneous interpretation was provided.

Our first webinar, “Youth Drug Policy, Then and Now” was a discussion of how youth drug policy landscapes have changed over time and key takeaways of our advancements. The panelists were Tara Lyons, Nazlee Maghsoudi, Kira London – Nadeau and it was moderated by Alex Betsos.

Following our first webinar, we held “Youth Talks Support Don’t Punish” in collaboration with Stimulus Connect. In collaboration with young people across the country, “Youth Talks Support Don’t Punish” centred the perspectives of those who are currently working to end the war on drugs in their respective communities and how they mobilize and strategize with other young people in solidarity with the movement. The panelists were Iye Sanneh, Grace Nie and Emily Wadden and it was moderated by Donald MacPherson.


Stimulus Connect is a program of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (CDPC). CDPC partners with the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs (CAPUD), Association des intervenants en dépendance du Québec (AIDQ) and other members of their national planning committee.

Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP) is a grassroots network comprised of youth and students who are concerned about the negative impact drug policies have on individual and communities and advocates for appropriate, equitable responses to reduce and prevent harms.

New additions mentioned in the Stimulus Connect:

  1. RE: Bill 22, here are some key email addresses; Minister Dix:; Minister Darcy:
  2.  CSSDP is a partner of the Regulation Project which is advocating for the legal regulation of all drugs
  3. Covid-19 and Harm Reduction resources: from CDPC and CSSDP
  4. Please watch this video on the intersection of race and gender disparities:

In preparation we gathered a few resources, documents and media articles that you may be find helpful.

  1. Support Don’t Punish 
  2. Support Don’t Punish: Campaigning at the intersections of the COVID-19 crisis and the “war on drugs.” Bank of ideas for mobilisation
  3. Policing the Pandemic
  4. We Can’t Police Our Way Out of the Pandemic. Working to address alternatives to policing COVID-19 with a vision for the abolition of police.
  5. Putting human rights at the heart of Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  6. Décès reliés à une intoxication suspectée aux opioïdes ou autres drogues au Québec juillet 2017 à mars 2020
  7. Opioid-related harms in Canada June 2020
  8. Drug Decriminalization Now.  A letter to Federal Ministers asking for decriminalization of simple drug possession. Please consider signing your organization on.
  9. British Columbia’s Bill 22 – 2020: Mental Health Amendment Act, 2020 which passed first reading on June 23, 2020

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Canada’s drug markets have been dramatically impacted by the national and provincial Covid-19 policy changes. This Stimulus Connect brought together key people to discuss the Canadian dark web, Canadian drug checking results and key information from Substance Use Experts. Following those speakers we took questions live from the Stimulus Connect participants. It was free to register.

Stimulus Connect is not just another webinar, it is an opportunity for Canadian stakeholders in harm reduction and drug policy to come together, learn and network on specific topics. This Stimulus Connect will have simultaneous French/English interpretation using the closed captioning feature.


New additions mentioned in the Stimulus Connect:

  1. DRUG MARKET SURVEY: Perspectives from PWUD on the illicit drug market during COVID19. Survey Brief and Drug Market PP Connect 2
  2. DNM’s Buyer Bible
  3. Selling Drugs on Darkweb Cryptomarkets – Differentiated Pathways, Risks and Rewards
  4. The Meth Booklet by ANKORS
  5. Report On Resistance Part One: Stimulant Contamination from the Coalition of Peers Dismantling the Drug War 
  6. ANKORS Manual: Drug Checking at Music Festivals 
  7. BC/Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors on Twitter @bcyadws

In preparation we gathered a few resources, documents and media articles that you may be find helpful.

  1. EMCDDA SPECIAL REPORT -COVID-19 and drugs Drug supply via darknet markets
  2. COVID-19 and the drug supply chain: from production and trafficking to use (UNODC, 2020)
  3. The Vancouver Island Drug Checking Project Quarter 1 Report: Key Indicators for 1 January – 31 March, 2020 is now available. Full report can be found on our website:
  4. New website: Drug Checking BC
  5. Drug Analysis Service provides on a monthly basis, the raw, anonymous data on samples analyzed and quantified for each province and territory.  Please find the data for the month of April, 2020. To receive this report regularly please connect with
  6. StreetRx: latest street prices for illicit and prescription drugs
  7. Adulterants, Contaminants and Co-occurring Substances in Drugs on the Illegal Market in Canada (CCENDU Bulletin), 2020
  8. CCENDU Alert: Changes Related to COVID-19 in the Illegal Drug Supply and Access to Services, and Resulting Health Harms
  9. Get your Drugs Tested via mail or in person

Media Reports

  1. What Lockdown? World’s Cocaine Traffickers Sniff at Movement Restrictions, May 20, 2020
  2.  Illicit drug supply potentially more dangerous amid COVID-19 pandemic, May 16, 2020
  3. Growing concern over potency of street drugs due to pandemic, May 13, 2020
  4. Growing Coca, Poppy May Be Latin Americans’ Economic Safety Net Amid Pandemic (Filter, May 12, 2020)
  5. Spike in overdose deaths could be tied to changing drug supply chain, May 11, 2020
  6. Inside the Strange World of Psychoactive Drugs, May 5, 2020
  7. Gangs forced to change tactics in response to closed borders and COVID-19 impacts, April 24, 2020
  8. Special Report: Peruvian coca farmers to Paris pushers, coronavirus upends global narcotics trade, April 22, 2020
  9. Coronavirus pandemic is causing pandemonium in global illicit drug trade, April 19, 2020

If you have any questions, please contact Shay, Stimulus Program Coordinator.


Stimulus is a project of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition. Sign up to their newsletter for updates on this project, drug policy in Canada, and learn how you can take action to help create change.

Friday, April 24, 2020

This first Stimulus Connect was an opportunity to hear from folks at the Coalition of Substance Users of the North – CSUNManitoba Harm Reduction NetworkHIV West YellowheadAIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador and Blood Ties Four Directions Centre.

Please check out the notes from the event as well as the questions and answers that we couldn’t get to.


  1. Manitoba Harm Reduction Network’s Outreach Guidelines During Covid-19 Pandemic, April 10, 2020
  2. USAs NEXT Distro? An online and mail-based harm reduction platform designed to reduce opioid overdose death, prevent injection-related disease transmission, and improve the lives of people who use drugs.
  3. Design Considerations for UAV-Delivered Opioid Overdose Interventions 


Stimulus is a project of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition. Sign up to their newsletter for updates on this project, drug policy in Canada, and learn how you can take action to help create change.