Note: This interview has been edited for clarity, readability, and concision.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Tell us about how you got an interest in Canadian drug policy.
Heidi Trautmann: My sister introduced me to it. She was volunteering. She was on the board. She informed me about the job. Before I applied to the job, I did posters and pictures for her. She thought it would be cool if I worked for CSSDP.
So, I did! I was really lucky to get the job.
Jacobsen: What tasks and responsibilities come along with the position?
Trautmann: One was work for the Support Don’t Punish event. That included videos from the Support Don’t Punish Facebook page and research found on their website. I did event posters such as Mapping the Mind with Mushrooms and the Support Don’t Punish event, and the t-shirt design. I created a drug infographic relating to certain drugs. I am continuing it.
Jacobsen: There are two major strategies. One is zero tolerance. The other is harm reduction. What method seems more reasonable to you?
Trautmann: Harm reduction because you cannot force somebody to give up. If someone is forced with the idea of drugs, they might feel hopeless. Drug use is not a legal issue. It is a health issue, which needs to be tackled in an appropriate way.
Obviously, we do not want people taking harmful drugs. They should not be punished with it. They should be helped to heal rather than surviving in jail.
Jacobsen: With regard to CSSDP, what is its core principle?
Trautmann: It is to spread information about drugs and drug use rather than promote drug use. The purpose of CSSDP is to spread information for individuals without forcing ideals on people rather than what is humane.
Jacobsen: With respect to some of the most vulnerable populations, if we take the homeless, the addicted, and children, and if we take some of the negative impacts seen with them through indirect harms, any recommendations for reduction of harms to those populations?
Trautmann: Volunteering is a good way to reduce harm. People in a higher class than others, more money and privilege, then these individuals could assist in spreading knowledge.
Jacobsen: Where do you hope CSSDP goes into the future – getting more funding, more people, more skill sets, and so on?
Trautmann: I hope, in Canada, if people hear about CSSDP, they won’t have to ask about it. It should be something known to people. People should have more knowledge on drugs and harm reduction.
Jacobsen: Thank you for your time, Heidi.
Member-at-largeScott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He is a Tobis Fellow (2016) at the University of California, Irvine’s (UCI) Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center). He researches in the Learning Analytics Research Group, works as the Gordon Neighbourhood House Community Journalist/