Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Vancouver's drug czar quits; Mayor pledges new approach

Vancouver plans to reevaluate its drug strategy as the city's drug czar makes his exit in the coming days.

Mayor Gregor Robertson yesterday confirmed reports of drug policy coordinator Donald MacPherson's resignation.

MacPherson laid the groundwork for Vancouver's internationally recognized Four Pillars Drug Strategy, which centres on prevention, treatment, harm reduction and enforcement.

Robertson said the city would take a new approach with a sharper focus on treatment and prevention.

"We're looking at a new alignment in our community services that integrate drug policy with health and mental health," he said. "It's really kind of an evolution of [Four Pillars] and making sure a couple pillars work very closely in tandem."

When an upcoming budget and shared services review is completed city officials could opt to leave MacPherson's current position vacant.

Mark Townsend, director of Vancouver's safe-injection centre Insite, said a shift away from the Four Pillars strategy isn't negative.

"What you need is a comprehensive approach," he said. "I'm sure that this is just a matter of the city not having money to keep positions like Donald's in these difficult times."

Dharm Makwana reports for Vancouver 24 hours.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus