Help Us Get to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs!

On March 14th, the United Nations will be holding a High-Level Ministerial Segment (HLM) as well as the annual Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). The HLM takes place every 10 years to evaluate the previous UN targets in drug policy. For the past several years, Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy have sent students to various UN international drug policy meetings to make sure that Canadian youth are both represented in international drug policy, and so that the information surrounding UN drug policy can be shared with youth around the world. These annual UN meetings are also an opportunity for youth drug policy activists from around the world to get together and organize around bigger drug policy partnerships. Last year, CSSDP played an important role in facilitating the growth of Paradigma, a project designed to help various youth-run drug policy organizations collaborate on drug policy reform.

This year, two CSSDP board members will be attending CND: Heather D’Alessio, who will be on the Canadian delegation and Alex Betsos, who will be working with youth drug policy activists. This year, both have been actively involved in monthly meetings with the Canadian government and with other drug policy organizations in Canada. Heather will be the first youth drug policy activist to be featured on the Canadian delegation. As well, Heather and Alex have spent several months working with their international partners to establish two side events  at CND this year that will feature youth from both the global north and the global south, explaining different facets of drug laws.

 CSSDP is a non-profit organization that operates solely on grants and donations. These funds are directly used to further research, extend visibility and access to CSSDP resources (ex. The Sensible Cannabis Toolkit), and promote the CSSDP’s message nationally and internationally at conferences, negotiations, and meetings. Please consider contributing in order to allow us to send students like Alex and Heather to events such as CND, allowing them to advocate for students and get them engaged in drug policy. If you’d like to donate, you can do so by following the link below. We welcome and thank you for any contribution you are able to make at this time.

 

CSSDP Spotlight: Phillipe Lucas, VP of Global Patient Research & Access, Tilray

CSSDP Spotlight: Phillipe Lucas, VP of Global Patient Research & Access, Tilray

Phillipe Lucas, once a member, is now the VP of Global Patient Research & Access at Tilray.

Attended: Concordia, Carleton, Bishops, UBC, UVic; I still attend UVic in a PhD program in Social Dimensions of Health.

When were you part of CSSDP:

Early 2000s

In what capacity were you part of CSSDP:

Member of Advisory Board

What’s your favourite memory working with CSSDP:

What would you tell youth who are interested in drug policy:

Follow your heart and passions – there is good funding available investigating both the harms and benefits of substance use finally available in Canada, and we need enthusiastic, forward-thinking folks!

CSSDP Spotlight: Lisa Campbell, CEO of Lifford Cannabis Solutions

CSSDP Spotlight: Lisa Campbell, CEO of Lifford Cannabis Solutions

 What is your current position: CEO, Lifford Cannabis Solutions

Which university or college did you attend: University of Waterloo, University of Alberta and York University

Affiliated CSSDP chapter: Toronto

When were you part of CSSDP: 2013-2015

In what capacity were you part of CSSDP: Outreach Director

What’s your favourite memory working with CSSDP: Presenting on drug checking at the United Nations in Vienna for the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. That same trip we had the CSSDP blog banned on the UNODC firewall, in the same day that we were in Russell Brand’s documentary End the Drugs War.  The documentary got mixed reviews, but we got to ask him if we should legalize and regulate all drugs in the middle of a press conference at the UN, and he agreed!

What would you tell youth who are interested in drug policy: Now is the time to get involved and have your voice heard.  It’s important for students to share their stories on how drug prohibition impacts their lives. By students getting involved it changes the stereotypes about young people who use drugs!

Cannabis? More like can’t-abis—thanks to a Quebec-wide ban on university and public grounds

 

Blog post by: Simona Rosenfield

On December 5th, the newly elected Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) party proposed a highly controversial bill that effectively handcuffs cannabis users who don’t own private property. For the most part, discussion about Bill 2 has revolved around the legal age to consume cannabis, as the CAQ intends to raise it from 18 to 21 years old. However, another change was proposed in Bill 2 that undeniably affects and further limits disabled students attending universities across Quebec.

Currently, as outlined in the provincial government’s Cannabis Regulation Act (CRA), cannabis consumption is completely prohibited anywhere on campus grounds. This includes consumption in student residences, designated tobacco smoking areas on campus, and anywhere indoors or outdoors on campus—including medical cannabis users. While smoking tobacco and vaping are permitted on campus, “as long as it occurs at least nine metres from building entrances, windows and air intakes,” no cannabis smoking, vaping, or ingestion is permitted for anyone, even past the nine-metre perimeter, according to the CRA.

These outdated laws reinforce stigma and sustain the by-gone days of prohibition,
ultimately targeting students who are disabled and use cannabis as medication among other vulnerable demographics. They do not need more limitations.

There is a wide body of research that confirms the many ailments cannabis treats—from multiple sclerosis to epilepsy, anxiety to arthritis; cannabis is an essential medicine for many students. Some even have to disrupt their school day by leaving the premises to relieve pain, offset a seizure, or reduce tremors by ingesting cannabis in the street.

Consequences for disobeying this “zero tolerance” policy are steep— with fines up to $2,250 from local police and “disciplinary action” that varies from school to school.

By banning all cannabis use on campus, medical users have been forced to resort to smoking on public sidewalks and streets: an already inadequate solution, lacking in dignity and discretion. By banning public use in streets, the CAQ bill eliminates this last resort that medical users have in emergency situations.

Ultimately, the CAQ bill leaves medical cannabis users with an impossible decision— take their medicine illegally at school or in public, or take it at home, a dilemma that puts them at a professional and educational disadvantage.

The consequences of Bill 2 would be deep and devastating for students with disabilities enrolled in school. University institutions must be allowed to provide designated cannabis consumption areas so students can consume cannabis safely, discreetly, and with dignity.

 

We need to listen to informed researchers, physicians, and young adults when writing legislation, and we need laws that support vulnerable members of our society. We need cannabis-on-campus legislation reform that reflects the needs of those it attempts to serve—its student body, and that are based in evidence rather than stigma and antiquated perceptions. With three months of legalization under our belt, we can tell already, this is just the beginning.

 

A Call from the Vancouver Emergency Task Force

A Call from the Vancouver Emergency Task Force

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

The emergency task force, comprised of 115 members, from Vancouver has made a call based on the ongoing high number, unusually so, of overdoses within the province. The current estimates for the period of January to September of 2018 is a total of 1,143 British Columbians deceased due to “illicit drug overdoses in the province.

These numbers a staggering, troubling, and tragic. No question about it. The questions following from this, in terms of not repeating the mistakes, are what we’re going to do about this in order to not repeat our collective mistakes of the past, where these mistakes costs the real lives and family members and friends around the province. This shouldn’t be happening, or least at this rate.

That is to say, we can reduce the extent and rate of the deaths within the province. The emergency task force for British Columbia stated that there should be, via a call, an increase in the levels of harm reduction provisions throughout the country.

One vulnerable area with few provisions, and especially given the high risk demographics associated with  post-secondary institutions, would bee the colleges, polytechnics, and research universities within the province.

Something as simple as Naloxone kits on campus can be helpful in the fight for greater levels of lifesaving happening within the province. Of course, these do not amount to cure-alls, nor do any of the other proposed “solutions,” which are, in fact, alleviatory measures for the improve health and wellness of misusers within the province, and, indeed, around the nation.

Throughout the city, an increase in the provisions would be helpful including a second harm reduction site for substance users who can smoke under supervision in addition to having a “mobile option to reach those outside of the Downtown Eastside.”

These are cheap, effective, and reasonable harm reduction methodological implementations with the real possibility for the improved wellbeing outcomes of the individual users and the family and friends who could, potentially as with the other 1,143 others, lose loved ones and confidantes.

As reported, the Globe and Mail stated, “The task force is also recommending an 18-month pilot project that would see overdose prevention sites in at least five private single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels, an expansion of these services in non-profit SROs and a review of overdose risk in both public and private SRO bathrooms.”

Knnedy Stewart, the Mayor of Vancouver, remarked on the fifth year of the overdose crisis with “no sign of slowing down” and, reflecting on the realism of harm reduction noted before, talked about the measures not solving the problem but reducing its severity.

The BC Coroners Service compiled data and then this formulated the basis for the recommendations, in part, and a review of about 900 illicit overdose case investigations discovered 39% were from smoking substance; hence, the safe and supervised smoking can be an important and on point harm reduction in practice measure.

In addition, 86% of the illicit drug overdose deaths happened while inside and in private residences, shelters, and SROs, partly or even significantly related to the stigma associated with substance of drug use and misuse.

There is only one place for supervised smoking at the moment. The Executive Director of the Overdose Prevention Society, Sarah Blyth, moved the operations of the society inside, subsequently similar sites opened around Vancouver.

Ms. Blyth explained, “The overdoses with smoking happen immediately … people just drop… So creating places where people can do all kinds of drugs is important.” The safety and wellbeing of British Columbians is at risk around the province without further and extensive implementation of harm reduction.

Indeed, Vancouver Coastal Health is funding 27 non-profit SROs and the emergency task force suggests or recommends funding 10 more. It’s that severe and should be taken that seriously.

This would require $1 million per annum from the province, which is, probably, minute in comparison to the amount of potential lives lost in the midst of the overdose crisis.

“Another recommendation is to prioritize securing a space for a pilot project led by the BC Centre of Disease Control that would distribute the opioid hydromorphone to people who are at high risk of overdose from illicit opioids,” The Globe and Mail also reports, “Providing a clean supply would be a direct and immediate answer to the fentanyl-contaminated illicit supply that has devastated communities across North America.”

There are many, many other recommendations including low-barrier and quickly accessible opioid agonist therapies in order to protect citizens from dying who may misuse substance.

Overall, the task force aligns with the work of CSSDP here with the inclusion of harm reduction philosophy and methodology as fundamental to tackling the serious public health issue of overdoses.

References

Woo, A. (2018, December 18). Vancouver overdose emergency task force calls for expanded harm reduction, safe supply. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-vancouver-overdose-emergency-task-force-calls-for-expanded-harm/.

Photo by Aditya Chinchure on Unsplash

Belleville and the Crisis, and Harm Reduction

Belleville and the Crisis, and Harm Reduction

There is continual news about the negative impacts of the opioid crisis on individual lives, and on families, communities, and society, even using the simple metric of the numbers of dead counted each day or the thousands per annum in Canada.

One small community with sixth highest hospitalization rate for opioid poisoning is Belleville. The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) looked into data from 2013 to 2018, and found those results.

Opioid-Related Harms in Canada was the report published, recently.

The Hastings and Prince Edward County Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Piotr Oglaza, stated, “It is a terrifying statistic to see that our community ranks so high… That truly reinforces that we have a lot of work to do.

The report noted that smaller Canadian communities are more likely to experience the higher levels of hospitalization than the others. In Ontario, the average rate of significant opioid poisoning hospitalizations was 14.8 per 100,00 but, in Bellville, it was 44.5 in 2017.

With the communities having populations between 50,000 and 99,999, the rates were 2 ½ times as many as the largest cities within the nation, e.g. Vancouver had 20.4 and Toronto had 8.9.

The article reported, “The details were released on the same day the Public Health Agency of Canada announced opioids were a factor in more than 2,000 deaths in the first half of this 18. More than 9,000 people died of opioid-related causes between January 2016 and June 2018, agency staff said.”

But apart from deaths and significant opioid hospitalizations, the other ill-effects of the crises are numerous and should be taken into account in the back of one’s mind when viewing the these and other statistics – speaking to tragedies – in the news.

Full report: tinyurl.com/cihi2018

References

Hendry, L. (2018, December 12). Belleville sixth for opioid poisoning hospitalizations in Canada. Retrieved from https://www.intelligencer.ca/news/local-news/belleville-sixth-for-opioid-poisoning-hospitalizations-in-canada.

Photo by Ricardo Soria on Unsplash

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott 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 is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Harm Reduction and the North Bay

Harm Reduction and the North Bay

The basic import and evidence behind harm reduction methodology is simply undeniable. But there are invested interests in ignorance about the nature of the best ways in which, or better ways in which, to deal with the various crises facing us, exacerbated by the punitive approaches to drugs and substances.

Needle exchanges and education are part and parcel of harm reduction. In the North Bay, there are more community spaces being proposed alongside some of the aforementioned measures, which can help members of the community and, thus, the health of the community.

One of the HIV education/MSM outreach coordinators for the AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area, Kathleen Jodouin, made certain to direct attention to the methodologies associated with harm reduction.

Jodouin stated, “There has been frequent talk in the community – across social media and news outlets – about improperly disposed of needles that are found in the community.”

One of the issues are the hours of operation. They be closed for substantial times in a 24-hour period in in a 7-day timespan. Other places including Kirkland Lake, New Liskeard, Sudbury, and Timmins accepted and implemented the proposals for safe disposal bins.

These are minimal and cheap measures to improve the health of communities.

“We think this could be an excellent resource for our community, to allow folks to have a safer place to dispose of them, which – of course – reduces transmission risk and the presence of improperly disposed of needles,” Jodouin explained, “but also helps to affirm that we are recognizing a need in the community for better services for those who are actively using.”

As the crises affecting communities throughout the country continue to become worse and worse, and more and more communities are affected, and to a substantially worse degree, there will be more events thematically oriented on it.

If we look at Harm Reduction Saves Lives, a 2-day symposium, Jodouin was part of it. In it, the emphasis was on “more education and emphasis on harm reduction as a solution.”

Jodouin stated the need for more inclusive for all members of the community, especially those who may be active users of substance. They aren’t from Mars. They’re other human beings deserving of compassion, dignity, and respect.

There is a lot of fear-based rhetoric, of which the least among out societies bear the brunt. In early 2018, Muskoka chairs put in the downtown were removed from outside the Canadian Mental Health Association. Why? Presumably, the stigma surrounding them.

Jodouin stated, “We find this quite disappointing, if not harmful, because it makes assumptions about the people who are accessing those services. It stigmatizes people who are brave enough to reach out into our community and ask for help and then it creates an isolation that these people are not welcome in the downtown core.”

References

Young, G. (2018, November 28). Harm reduction favoured as best treatment for drug problem. Retrieved from https://www.nugget.ca/news/local-news/harm-reduction-favoured-as-best-treatment-for-drug-problem.

Photo by Etienne Delorieux on Unsplash

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott 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 is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Saskatoon Tribal Council and Harm Reduction Services

Saskatoon Tribal Council and Harm Reduction Services

According to Global News, there is a several year agreement for funding with the Saskatoon Tribal Council, or the STC, in order to improve the services for the Indigenous peoples “in and around the city.

The reportage stated, “Provincial government officials said Monday the these programs provide education, supplies, and supports to people who use drugs, reducing the spread of blood-borne infections, and other health-related harms.”

These remain significant and, potentially, growing problems throughout the country. The introduction of improved harm reduction measures will, as per the robust empirical and peer-reviewed evidence, make the health and wellness outcomes of the nation better in these areas as well.

The STC will also hire casual staff for needle exchanges, 2 outreach workers, one immunization/administrative co-ordinator, and 1 health centre director.

The STC Chief, Mark Arcand, stated, “We look forward to ensuring preventative harm reduction measures that are delivered in a culturally safe and respectful manner… We and our partners agree that a collaborative approach is necessary if we are to reduce the rates of HIV and hepatitis C in Saskatchewan. Together we can and will affect real change which enriches people’s quality of life.”

In addition to this, the Minister of Indigenous Servces, Jane Philpott, noted 30 First Nations communities now provide various harm reduction services. This is particularly heartwarming and important as most of the ill-health impacts of the country disproportionately negatively impact the Indigenous communities and peoples throughout the nation.

Philpott, in a press release, stated, “We know that First Nations-led and delivered programming and services can have the biggest impact on improving health outcomes for Indigenous peoples… This new funding agreement will allow for expanded access to more First Nations people in Saskatoon and surrounding communities, and will support a full range of harm reduction and HIV/AIDS care services.”

Now, the Indigenous Services Canada will give $0.825 million from October, 2018 to April, 2024; same with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health. Then the STC will contiute $50,000 for 2018/19 and $100,000 per annum until March, 2024.

Indigenous Services Canada and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health will each contribute $825,000 between October 2018 and April 2024 to STC’s program, plus an additional $180,000 this fiscal year for STC. STC will provide in-kind contributions of $50,000 for 2018-19 and $100,000 annually to March 2024.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is also providing $180,000 this fiscal year toward STC’s program.

References

Piller, T. (2018, December 3). Saskatoon Tribal Council improving harm reduction services. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/4723106/saskatoon-tribal-council-improving-harm-reduction-services/.

Photo by karl S on Unsplash

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott 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 is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

L’éducation des jeunes sur le cannabis

L’éducation des jeunes sur le cannabis

Avec la légalisation récente du cannabis à des fins récréatives ainsi que des crises liées aux politiques sur les drogues à travers le monde, il importe que nous fassions des avancées vers l’éducation des jeunes, commençant avec les données probantes. Nous aimerions remercier Canopy Growth Corporation pour leur soutien d’Étudiant.es Canadien.nes pour les Politiques Éclairées sur les Substances Psychoactives (ÉCPÉSP) et de ce projet pour l’éducation des jeunes au sujet du cannabis par la voie d’une subvention sans restriction!

 

Des approches éclairées pour la légalisation et l’éducation

S’alignant avec le mandat d’ÉCPÉSP de soutenir les efforts d’éducation sur les drogues et s’appuyant sur les consultations avec les jeunes sur la légalisation du cannabis effectuées au Canada, cette référence répond aux besoins de développement de ressources réalistes et basées sur les faits pour l’éducation sur le cannabis pour les jeunes. Créée pour les éducatrices/teurs ainsi que pour les parents, cette référence vise à soutenir les adultes pour qu’ils/elles puissent avoir des conversations informées et ouvertes avec les jeunes.

Fundraising for Cannabis Education!

Fundraising for Cannabis Education!

On October 3rd, CSSDP will be holding its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Edmonton, Alberta, as a part of Stimulus Conference and we’re looking for your help to get us there!

This is really important in the context of legalization, and in supporting the national community of youth in being heard when it comes to drug policy. On Wednesday, October 3rd, three of our board members will be presenting on Sensible Cannabis Education and we’ll be hosting our AGM in person and online right after.

CSSDP’s national board is composed of several volunteer members across Canada who work together remotely, while working closely with their communities and partner organizations to apply harm reduction and foster sensible drug policy and dialogue across the country. Our AGM is a key opportunity for us to meet in person, reflect on the work we have done and plan for what is to come in the following year. It allows members to debrief and propels us into a new year of bettering our communities by fighting for balanced, non-stigmatizing, and evidence-based drug conversations and measures. Helping us get together means supporting our sensible drug policy efforts, and especially our current biggest priority: cannabis education. As profoundly knowledgeable and well-connected young people, we are in the best position to effectively educate and engage in dialogue with other youth about cannabis.

If we want to ensure young people are educated about cannabis, the first step is supporting educators.

We are those educators.

We have the drive. We have the knowledge. We have the networks. We don’t have the money.

If you wish to support us, any donation goes a long way to fund the work we do. You can support us on Patreon with a regular monthly contribution, choose to fund a specific project, or simply etransfer to contact@cssdp.org.

Special donations will always get special recognition (contact us to learn more!) but every single dollar counts and will be put towards sensible drug policy. With at least 6 board members going to the AGM, our goal is to raise enough to cover their travel costs and conference entry, so we can celebrate Sensible Cannabis Education and our AGM together.

We thank you for your support and are looking forward to another year of progress.

Sensibly,

Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Kira London-Nadeau

Kira London-Nadeau

Chair

Kira is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Psychology at the University of Montréal. Her research focuses on the bidirectional effects of cannabis and mental health issues in adolescence, with a focus on sexual and gender minorities. She is also passionate about drug policy, social justice, health, and education.
Kira London-Nadeau poursuit présentement une maîtrise en psychologie à l’université de Montréal. Sa recherche est centrée sur les effets bidirectionnels du cannabis et des symptômes de psychopathologie à l’adolescence, avec une attention particulière portée aux minorités d’orientations sexuelles et aux minorités de genre. Elle est aussi passionnée des politiques en substances illicites, de la justice sociale, de la santé et de l’éducation.