Together, we can fix a broken system
Prohibition and the criminalization of drugs have fueled a public health and human rights crisis that has killed hundred of thousands through accidental drug poisonings and overdose. Help us build a new system grounded in evidence, public health principles, human rights, and equity. DONATE to the Regulation Project or JOIN our email list to stay up-to-date on developments and learn ways to support our mission.
A new vision for drug policy to save lives
Canada is in a national public health crisis. A toxic drug supply has killed nearly 13,000 people since 2016. We need a new way forward, and the Regulation Project will put us on the right path. It is a collaborative effort of Canadian and international organizations to advocate an evidence-based system to regulate substances using the same tools we use to regulate all sorts of activities that carry risks, from driving cars to prescription drugs to skydiving to alcohol and tobacco.
The Regulation Project is a forum to engage as many people as we can in a national discussion about what regulation means and what it could look like. It’s a resource and guide for lawmakers on how to legally regulate drugs to ensure the safety of communities, reduce overdose, and promote health and safety. It is an education tool for the public to learn about the harms of our current drug policies and the catastrophic impacts of over a century of prohibition (learn more).
What kinds of regulatory decisions could we make?
There are hundreds of regulatory decisions we can make to organize a post-prohibition system for substances. These can range from decisions about who has access to drugs, what they have to do to get drugs, the conditions under which drugs are produced and distributed, how they are packaged and labeled, the size and concentrations provided, how they are advertised, where they can be acquired, where they can be consumed, what kinds of health and other information needs to be provided to consumers, and what happens when people break the rules – to list only a few. We are initially focusing on five factors that research tells us are not only directly tied to how risky it is to consume a substance, but are important to consumers when deciding whether they will use the new legal system:
- Who gets to access drugs?
- What do people have to do to access drugs?
- Where can people obtain drugs?
- How much can individuals get and how often?
- Where can people consume drugs?
Six Priorities of Legal Regulation
Promote public health, safety, and justice
Government regulations based on evidence can allow us to maximize individual and community health and safety. We can teach people how to use drugs in a way that lowers their risk of harm, including overdose. We can design a system that is safe, fair, and rights the wrongs of prohibition.
Eliminate the illegal, unregulated market
Prohibition allows organized crime to control the production and distribution of drugs. The drive for profit leads criminal actors to contaminate the drug supply with toxic substances. This puts lives at risk. Taking control of the drug supply means taking the power and decisions about drugs away from the criminals.
Educate about safer drug use
Because drugs are illegal, it is very difficult to share official messages to drug consumers beyond – “don’t do them.” In a regulated system, though, there would be lots of opportunities to engage with consumers about risks of use and safer practices.
Save taxpayers money
The yearly criminal justice, health care and lost productivity costs of illegal substances are tens of billions of dollars, and organized criminal actors don’t pay taxes. A regulated system would reallocate criminal justice funds towards social supports and services.
Create a safe supply
A regulated system would control the quality and potency of drugs consumed. This would drastically reduce the number of accidental overdoses to people taking drugs that are unknown and tainted with adulterants.
Criminals don’t care whether young people access drugs or not, and they don’t check ID. Right now, drugs are widely available to young people. A regulated system would be designed to discourage drug use by young people and educate them about the risks of drug use.
News & Updates
- Launching the Regulation Project at #Reform2019Join us at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in St. Louis, Missouri November 6-9th where we will be launching the Regulation Project to an international audience of over 1,500 people from 80 countries. If you're at the conference, stop by our table hosted by Canadian Drug Policy Coalition and Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation … Read more