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Vancouver's Addiction Ambitions, Revisited

Philip Owen and Donald MacPherson

Four Pillars pioneers former Vancouver mayor Philip Owen and the city's former drug policy coordinator Donald MacPherson. Is support for progressive policies slipping off city's radar? Photo by Christopher Grabowski.

In this five-part series including in-depth audio reports as well as text articles, The Tyee and the University of British Columbia's documentary radio series, The Terry Project on CiTR, investigate the state of Vancouver drug policy.

In 2001, after much campaigning by activists, academics, and public health officials, council approved the boldest, most progressive drug policy in North America: A Framework For Action: A Four-Pillar Approach to Vancouver's Drug Problems.

Where do those four pillars stand today? Have they worked? Has the city pulled back on its addiction ambitions? Or is it building upon them? The series brings up to date the state of each of the pillars -- prevention, treatment, harm reduction and enforcement.

In This Series


Philip Owen and Donald MacPherson

Vancouver's Addiction Ambitions, Revisited

What happened to North America's boldest drug policy experiment?

By Gordon Katic and Sam Fenn, 5 Sep 2014


Drug and alcohol counsellor Heather Charlton

Vancouver's Drug Prevention 'Pillar': How Strong Does It Stand?

What's being done to keep young people from slipping into addiction? Second in a series.

By Gordon Katic and Sam Fenn, 12 Sep 2014


Jim O'Rourke, executive director of Vision Quest Society

The Methadone Split: Cracks in Vancouver's Treatment Pillar

Third in a series on 'Vancouver's Addiction Ambitions, Revisited.'

By Gordon Katic and Sam Fenn, 19 Sep 2014


Outreach worker Ann Livingstone

In Surrey, 'Harm Reduction' Drug Approaches a Hard Sell

Fourth in a series on 'Vancouver's Addiction Ambitions, Revisited.'

By Gordon Katic and Sam Fenn, 26 Sep 2014


Devinder Thandi

In Vancouver and Seattle, Winding down the War on Drugs

How alternatives to tossing users in jail are paying off. Last in a series.

By Gordon Katic and Sam Fenn, 3 Oct 2014

Real Cities Give Their People Places to Pee

Public washrooms should be plentiful and accessible, says one scholar. And cities that do flush, flourish.

By Christopher Cheung