Ending the Drug Poisoning Crisis — a Law Reform Challenge


April 2024

The toxic drug crisis has claimed more than 40,000 lives since 2016. The Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (CDPC) points out that from January to June 2023, 80% of opioid toxicity deaths involved fentanyl in the unregulated drug supply.

Based at Simon Fraser University, the CDPC has been working to promote approaches to Canadian drug policy and law that it hopes can help end that crisis, through research, advocacy, and community engagement. Their work is rooted in science, public health, and human rights, and builds on the foundation of evidence gathered over years that criminalizing people who use drugs is ineffective and harmful.

The CDPC has been a consistent voice for change at provincial and federal legislatures, and in the courts.

In recent years, CDPC has engaged in legal advocacy to Parliament on a human rights-based approach to changes to the Criminal Code and Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the regulation of currently illicit drugs, the disproportionate impacts of the current laws on Indigenous, Black and racialized people, and the difficulties inherent in involuntary treatment.

The Law Foundation of BC has contributed a $245,000 grant to SFU to support the CDPC’s continued law reform work in 2024.