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Canadian Drug Policy Coalition

-For Immediate Release-

New national drug policy coalition receives key endorsements

(Vancouver) The Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (CDPC) launched their national organization yesterday and immediately received the endorsement of a Canadian Senator from Quebec and the Executive Director of a national HIV/AIDS Legal Network.

After calling for a fundamental shift away from a punitive approach to drug policy in Canada and toward one based on public health, human rights and peer reviewed evidence, the Coalition announced plans to host cross-country community dialogues that will engage citizens directly in the development of a new drug policy for Canada.

"This is an important step forward in engaging Canadians in the process of modernizing our drug policies and legislation," said Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, former Chair of the Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs.

As part of their announcement, the Coalition also launched a comprehensive new website: The site outlines a clear and integrated vision for the future of drug policy in Canada by pointing to a group of key policies that underpin their proposed paradigm shift.  These include innovations such as the decriminalization of drugs and new ways to regulate drugs based on public health principles.

"At this time, we urgently need a broad coalition of civil society organizations and experts like the CDPC to bring some reason to Canada’s approach to dealing with illicit drugs,” Richard Elliott, Executive Director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network said. “We have ample evidence of many harms that will flow from adopting legislation such as Bill C-10, which will impose mandatory minimum sentences for drug offences, causing harm to the public purse, to human rights and of course, to public health.” 

Members of the CDPC include front-line harm reduction and treatment providers, HIV/AIDS service organizations, people who use drugs, researchers and public health officials. 

"We live in a time of tremendous change and exciting possibility. Globally countries are beginning to look to new and more effective ways to address drug-related problems in society. In Canada there is a strong movement growing and a clear need for national coordinated action," said Donald MacPherson, Director of the Coalition.


Media Contact:  Leslie Dickout 604-626-5932

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About the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition
The CDPC fosters public dialogue, education and action that support a paradigm shift in Canadian drug policy from our current punitive approaches to one rooted in public health, social inclusion and human rights. We measure our progress by monitoring shifts in public discourse, debate and policy change in Canada that reflect a broader appreciation of the social, cultural, and economic contexts of substance use.  

The Coalition’s work will be focused on exploring the issue of harms associated with substances in Canada.  It will engage Canadians in dialogue and promote action to reduce harms that may be associated with substance use, regulatory policy and the commerce related to legal and illegal drugs in society.

For more information and a full listing of our coalition members visit

Our mailing address is:

C/O Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction

Simon Fraser University

Canadian Drug Policy Coalition
#2400 - 515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3

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