On International Overdose Awareness Day, we remember and fight for those we have lost to a senseless war on drugs

We demand evidence-based solutions, not fear-based drug policy!

Drug prohibition has utterly failed in its aims. People will always use drugs; but with virtually no access to a safe and regulated drug supply, they risk death by toxic policy. As governments across the world pledge allegiance to the failed War on Drugs, we grieve thousands. We cannot support a system that drives drug use further underground, frustrates access to critical health services, churns poor and racialized people through a violent criminal justice system, and continues to ignore the valid reasons why people use drugs. Our work is based on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations and cannot separate this toxic policy from the violence of settler-colonialism.

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To stop the loss of life and assert the humanity of people who use drugs, we need peer-led strategies and tools. Today, and every day, we must stop the stigma that prevents many from accessing safety through health services and supports.

We call on all levels of government across the country to advocate for, devise and implement five lifesaving strategies:

  1. End drug prohibition; develop policies affirmed by people with lived experience, and shift to public health approaches.
  2. Fund drug user led groups, follow their leadership and heed their expertise.
  3. Eliminate barriers to harm reduction services, including overdose prevention sites and supervised consumption sites.
  4. Connect people with lifesaving health services and supports, including culturally safe care, ancestral healing practices, safe housing, and higher rates of income assistance.
  5. Provide a safe and accessible supply of drugs, including pharmaceutical-grade heroin, to counter the poisoned street supply.

Learn more about Pivot's position which calls on the British Columbia provincial government to take immediate steps to enact "de facto" drug decriminalization.