Getting to Tomorrow: Ending the Overdose Crisis

Beyond COVID-19

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Community dialogues bringing Canadians together to realize a shared vision for change to address the overdose crisis. Select from the communities in the map below to learn about the issues and people at the heart of this crisis—and solutions to it. #GettingToTomorrow

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Canadian Drug Policy Coalition launches national dialogue series on the overdose crisis and COVID-19

Finding common ground and shared meaning to realize solutions to the overdose crisis. A public health and human rights-based approach.

Canada’s current approach to substances

Rather than being benign tools aimed at promoting the health of Canadians, drug laws introduced in the early 1900s were meant for social control and targeted certain groups of people, including Asian immigrants, people of colour, and Indigenous people.

What is harm reduction?

Harm reduction saves lives and connects people with vital social services, health care, and stability.

Considering alternative drug policies: decriminalization and legal regulation

Legal regulation would create safer communities for everyone. It would greatly reduce overdose, weaken high-level organized crime, and keep drugs away from youth.

What is a public health and human rights approach to substances?

By changing the way we see and frame substance use, we can move towards a system of laws and policies that will prevent harm and death.

The impact of stigma

Stigma can create real and tangible harms for people who use drugs. We can help or harm through our words and behaviours.

Outcomes of our current approach to substances

The system is failing and fuelling overdose deaths, violence, and organized crime.

"You cannot arrest your way out of an opioid crisis."

Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada (The Canadian Press, Aug. 23, 2020)

"Everybody needs a safe place to use, and they need a safe drug to use."

Matt Bonn, Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs (CBC, Oct. 6, 2020 / Photo credit: Caora McKenna)

"The evidence shows us that supervised consumption sites and services save lives and can provide people who use drugs with access to health and social services and treatment."

Hon. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, Canada (The Canadian Press, Aug. 20, 2020)

"We need to put as much time and effort and kindness and compassion into caring for people who use drugs as we have been successful in doing in responding to the COVID-19 crisis."

Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer of British Columbia (Global News, July 16, 2020)

"A person’s worth isn’t based on the substances they put in their body and it doesn’t help when we push them away."

Erica Thomson Peer Coordinator at Fraser Health

Erica Thomson, Peer Coordinator (Fraser Health, May 14, 2018)

"Stigmatizing and criminalizing those affected by substance use disorders is an ineffective strategy that often increases harm."

Elaine Hyshka, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Sept. 26, 2019)