2023 AGM Keynote panel on Addressing the Deadly Gap in Drug Policy

PAN held its Annual General Meeting virtually on Thursday, October 19, 2023.

We convened a special keynote panel called Addressing the deadly gap in drug policy: treatment and harm reduction are not enough. We need safer supply.

Presentations were by Charlene Burmeister (Coalition of Substance Users of the North) and Kurt Lock (Research Coordinator at the NAOMI and SALOME studies, and long-term advocate in the DTES), and special guests Jenny McDougall and Phoenix Beck McGreevy. Our speakers unpacked the present realities of prescribed safer supply (PSS) in BC, as it is under the media and political spotlight right now. The call for PSS preceded both the pandemic and the overdose/toxic drug crisis, so the presentation provided historical context – including the ‘war on drugs’ – and explored the evidence behind PSS as one of the tools to help people. The panel highlighted current barriers to a more effective implementation, as well as innovative and successful PSS models, and what we can do with what we have learnt.