Addiction Practice Pod

Addiction Practice Pod

Addiction Practice Pod, Episode 5: The Harms of Criminalizing Substance Use

November 24, 2020

The criminalization of substance use causes demonstrable harms: it isolates people who use drugs, pushes them to use in riskier ways, and deters them from seeking help when they need it. Even so, the possession of illicit street drugs for personal consumption is still criminalized in British Columbia and the rest of Canada.

In this episode, addiction physician Dr. Christy Sutherland and journalist David Ball discuss the years-long overdose crisis in British Columbia, how the criminalization of substance use negatively impacts lives and health, and what role clinicians can play in reducing these harms in the absence of systemic change.

Guests this episode include:

  • Dr. Bonnie Henry – Provincial Health Officer, Province of British Columbia
  • Amber Streukens – Peer Health Navigator with ANKORS and Rural Empowered Drug Users Network (REDUN)
  • Scott Bernstein – Lawyer and Director of Policy at the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition