Canadian Drug Policy Coalition

New Coalition calls for a public health approach to alcohol, tobacco and drug controls

Vancouver (BC), November 26, 2011: The Health Officers’ Council of BC (HOC) and the Canadian Drug
Policy Coalition (CDPC),, have called for a fundamental shift in Canada’s approach to alcohol, tobacco, illegal and prescription drug controls.

The HOC study released today, “Public Health Perspectives for Regulating Psychoactive Substances,” describes how public health oriented regulation of alcohol, tobacco, prescription and illegal substances can better reduce the harms that result both from substance use and substance regulation, compared to current approaches.

“This paper highlights the large number of needless and preventable deaths, hospitalizations and human suffering consequent to our current approaches”, Dr. Richard Mathias of the HOC said. “The Health Officers’ Council is inviting feedback on its ideas and requesting that organizations and individuals join with us in a call for immediate changes to put the public’s health first.”

Dr. John Carsley, a public health and preventive medicine specialist and Medical Health Officer for the region
added: “The harms associated with psychoactive substances are a major public health and social problem.
Progress will require strong partnerships and frank discussion between all levels of government, non-government organizations, and civil society.”

The CDPC is a new national coalition of front-line harm reduction and treatment providers, HIV/AIDS service
organizations, people who use drugs, researchers and public health officials. The Coalition launched today in
Vancouver, BC through its partnership in the release of the paper.