Safer Supply and Tools for Policy Change

This panel discussion on Safer Supply and Tools for Policy Change,  moderated by Garth Mullins of Crackdown Podcast, covered current efforts to organize and mobilize around supporting and expanding safer supply and harm reduction services.

Learn more about our speakers below!

"The panel is badass" -- one webinar attendee

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Our Moderator

  Garth Mullins, Host and Executive Producer, Crackdown Podcast: Garth is a longtime activist and opioid user as well as a member of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users and the BC Association of People on Methadone. He’s been a drug user, and a drug user activist for decades.

Our Speakers

  Leslie McBain, Co-Founder, Moms Stop the Harm (MSTH): Leslie is the co-founder and director of Moms Stop the Harm, a national organization dedicated to ending the failed war on drugs. MSTH advocates for the decriminalization of people who possess illicit substances and for the legal regulation of pharmaceutical drugs.
  Andrzej Celinski, Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs (CAPUD). Residing in Tkaronto (often referred to as Toronto, Ontario), Andrzej has been an active member of CAPUD for some time. This culminated in his employment there in 2022. He is also a long-time member of the National Safer Supply Community of Practice (NSS-CoP), on contract with the Dr. Peter Centre in a Knowledge Translation role, and an Editor for The Drug Hub. He has written chapters, articles and Op-eds for publications such as Filter, presented at Stimulus Connect as well as participated in a wide array of harm reduction actions. As a drug user, he feels strongly about the need to end drug prohibition, establish greater access to Safer Supply, modernize Education about ‘street’ Drugs and advocate for the implementation of decriminalization and legalization models worldwide right now!! His York University master’s in environmental studies (MES with Urban Planning Certification) graduate research focused on drug use and the housing crisis. Andrzej’s passions include travelling, movies, reading, art, music, breathtaking scenery, and good conversation.


  Ben Perrin, Law Professor, University of British Columbia; Author of "Overdose: Heartbreak and Hope in Canada’s Opioid Crisis": Benjamin Perrin is a professor at the University of British Columbia, Peter A. Allard School of Law. He has served in the Prime Minister’s Office as in-house legal counsel and lead policy advisor on criminal justice and public safety. He was also a law clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada. His books include Indictment: The Criminal Justice System on Trial (University of Toronto Press, forthcoming October 2023) and Overdose: Heartbreak and Hope in Canada’s Opioid Crisis (Penguin Random House, 2020).
  Matt Johnson, Health Promoter, Safe Consumption Services, Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre (PQWCHC): Matt Johnson is a Health Promoter with the Safe Consumption Services at Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre. They are a long time Harm Reduction worker, activist and advocate who continues to push for greater and meaningful involvement of people who use drugs in the development and implementation of services and policies affecting people who use drugs. They work for an end to the drug war and full decriminalization.
  Elaine Hyshka, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair at School of Public Health, University of Alberta: Dr. Elaine Hyshka is an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Health Systems Innovation at the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health, and Scientific Director of the Inner City Health and Wellness Program. Her program of health systems and services research is focused on advancing a public health approach to substance use in Canada. She works closely with service providers, health authorities, people with lived experience of substance use, and all levels of government to identify, evaluate, and scale systems innovations for improving health outcomes and advancing health equity. Dr. Hyshka is currently Co-Chair of Health Canada’s Expert Advisory Group on Safer Supply, and between May 2017 and November 2019, she was a Co-Chair of the Alberta Minister of Health’s Opioid Emergency Response Commission. Her research and leadership have been recognized by multiple awards, including a Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal, a Trailblazer Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Population and Public Health, and a President’s Excellence Award for Outstanding Achievements in Innovation from Alberta Health Services.