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Addicted City: Drug Policy and Harm Reduction in Vancouver

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Over the last century, a saga of drug use, policing and treatment has unfolded in Vancouver. And while it remains a contentious issue, the city has gradually emerged as a forerunner in progressive harm reduction tactics. That's one reason Vancouver street paper Megaphone Magazine put together this series. "When it comes to harm reduction, we want to know: what works, what doesn't and where else we can go,” writes managing editor Kevin Hollett. "But our approach to drug policy can't stop with harm reduction. Drug use is the symptom of a larger disease, and harm reduction and more progressive drug laws are the treatment. But if we are to cure the disease itself, great efforts to address its underlying causes are needed.” In this series, reporters Ben Christopher and Jackie Wong look at the history of the city's battle with drugs, harm reduction's place on the national scene, and how its principles are faring in treatment programs for alcoholics.

In This Series

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How Vancouver's War on Drugs Began

The city's long and conflicted struggle with addiction, since the days of Mackenzie King. First in a series.

By Ben Christopher, 21 Mar 2012


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Harm Reduction: Will it Snowball?

Not if Canada's drug policy continues to pit evidence against ideology, advocates say. Second in a series.

By Jackie Wong, 22 Mar 2012


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Alcohol Harm Reduction Goes Mainstream

Stigmas around illicit drinking no longer stop people from receiving support. Last in a series.

By Jackie Wong, 23 Mar 2012


‘We Know We Are at a Crossroads’: Youth on Strike for the Climate

On Friday, they walked out of class to make their voices heard.

By Gabrielle Plonka and Jackie Dives