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Decriminalization Done Right: A Rights-Based Path for Drug Policy

Two police officers arresting someone on the sidewalk in Vancouver

Punitive drug laws and policies aimed at ending illegal drug use have failed; and worse, they have done catastrophic harm to communities and society. These laws have fuelled stigma; epidemics of preventable illness and death; poverty; homelessness; and widespread, systematic, and egregious violations of human rights. Recognizing the many lives that have been lost and ruined to the state-sanctioned “war on drugs,” we must act to end the harm. Decriminalizing personal drug possession and necessity trafficking are fundamental, necessary steps towards a more rational and just drug policy grounded in evidence and human rights. It is a change that is long overdue. [Read more…]

Stimulus: Drugs, Policy and Practice in Canada is happening at a pivotal time for our country.

Stimulus co-hosts, partners and staff continue to follow coronavirus developments by provincial, national and international health experts. Through our work, we have a strong connection with Health Canada and we continue to follow their and Global Affairs advice.

Stimulus acknowledges that another public health crisis continues to unfold in Canada. People continue to die at alarming rates from accidental poisoning from a toxic illegal drug market and the work to protect the health and safety of those who use drugs must continue. We laud the current efforts by governments to stem the tide of COVID19 cases and wish a similar level of response was taking place to save the lives of people at risk of overdose death in Canada.

Stimulus 2020 was scheduled to be a two-and-a-half day event held September 30-October 2 in beautiful Gatineau Quebec. We expected to welcome 1,000 people whose expertise included substance use experts, nurses, social workers, physicians, corrections staff, frontline workers, people involved in sex work, researchers, and other key stakeholders from across Canada. The event was to be the largest harm reduction and drug policy gathering in Canada.

A narcan kit hanging on a chain link fence

Stimulus: Drugs, Policy and Practice in Canada’s work has changed. Like many others across Canada, we responded to COVID-19 as best we could within this ever changing context. The first piece of work the Stimulus coordinator engaged in was working within the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition team to help launch and manage the COVID-19 Harm Reduction Hub. This webpage has grown to be a useful tool for Canadian harm reduction and drug policy stakeholders as they respond to both public health crises.

Through the work of the Stimulus National Implementation and Planning (SNIP) Committee we have also pivoted our work to include Stimulus Connect, a virtual knowledge and skills sharing opportunity meant to build capacity and community within Canada’s harm reduction sector. 

You can contact us through this website or social media channels if you have any questions.


Stimulus: Drugs, Policy and Practice in Canada is a program of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition. Sign up to their newsletter for updates on this program as well as their other work