In this clip I spoke to Ryan Jespersen from 630 CHED about the release form the B.C. provincial heath officer (PHO), Dr. Bonnie Henry, Stopping the Harm: Decriminalization of Drugs in BC. We also spoke about the state of harm reduction evidence in Canada and why we desperately need safe safe consumption sites in Alberta.
If you haven’t read the report yet, it is an excellent primer on the rationale for why decriminalizing drugs is the bold policy solution we need to end the public health harms associated with illicit drug use.
This spring we launched our video series “#SeeTheLives” produced through our research partnership with parent advocates for anti-stigma and harm reduction, with funding from the Opioid Awareness Grant to Communities, Alberta Health – one of several grants awarded last year to groups across the province.
Our aim in this project is to shift stigmatizing narratives about substance use and mental health and to amplify messages of community support for harm reduction in our communities in Alberta, and across Canada at a critical time. The crisis in overdose deaths is taking a huge toll on families and on communities, and the grief that results when a child dies is tremendous. That is why it was truly an honour to work with this brave and brilliant group of four parents to help them share their letters to their children. You can watch their videos and read their letters here: see-beyond.ca. A study guide and links to resources are also available on the site.
My talk and slides from the 2019 CCIC Meeting are available here. My presentation addressed the need to use rigorous qualitative research methods as a strategy to ensure that we hear from people who use cannabis, especially youth and those who may be perceived as most ‘at-risk’ for negative outcomes that may be associated with their cannabis use. We learned from the TRACE project that listening to the voices of people who use cannabis is critical for how we approach the issue through a policy and treatment or intervention lens. Funding for qualitative research on cannabis use in the context of legalization in Canada should be a priority.
One cool thing I got to do in this talk was to acknowledge the community of qualitative cannabis researchers from across Canada, many of whom are people I have worked with and whose work continues to inspire me.
In this clip I discuss recent debates about the presence of supervised consumption sites in downtown Calgary, what is missing from a harm reduction perspective, and why we need to think critically about decriminalizing all illicit drug use in the wake of cannabis legalization.