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WESTPAC: Substance Use and Single Payer: Connecting the Dots

  • May 18, 2021
  • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Virtual Event


Substance Use and Single Payer: Connecting the Dots

Tuesday, May 18 - 7:00 PM EST

Note: You can join by phone or computer.
Closed captions will be available.

The opioid addiction and overdose death epidemics have caused over 500,000 deaths and untold suffering in the US since 1999. Our market-driven medical care system and Big Pharma played a large role in creating this crisis and continue to impede effective medical and public health responses to this worsening crisis. 

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) has been a national leader for decades in exposing the racialized War on Drugs and the resulting mass incarceration of overwhelmingly Black and other people of color. 

Our DPA speaker will discuss the strategy and growing success of the grassroots movement to end draconian drug laws in the U.S.  Medical cannabis programs continue to expand and a growing number of states, including NY and NJ, are legalizing adult use of cannabis.  Oregon recently became the first US state to decriminalize possession of small quantities of all drugs and to offer a public health approach to drug use. Other states will soon follow suit. 

Canadian colleagues will discuss how Canada’s single-payer, national health program has responded to Canada’s opioid problems by embracing humane and evidence-based harm reduction approaches.  

Canada’s approach to the use of drugs stands in stark contrast to the U.S:

  • Canada is the second country in the world to make cannabis legal for both recreational and medicinal purposes. 
  • Canada’s national health program funds harm reduction services such as sterile needles and syringes and community outreach programs
  • More than 35 Drug Consumption Sites (also known as Supervised or Overdose Prevention Sites) are now operating vs. none (legally) in the U.S. 
  • Injectable opioid agonist treatments (iOAT) including Heroin Assisted Treatment are available in Canada; not in the US
  • Canadian prisons provide evidence-based medications for treatment of Opioid Use Disorder that are only rarely available in the U.S.   

Panelists will include a speaker who has been directly impacted by US prohibition policies and to barriers to treatment and a clinician who works with patients facing these challenges. 

Register here

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