Media Advisory - Major drug policy conference aims to set agenda for next decade of reform; Health Minister to deliver keynote

OTTAWA, March 29, 2017 /CNW/ - On April 4-5, 2017, 120 drug policy leaders from across Canada, the Americas and Europe will convene in Ottawa for Canada's Drug Futures Forum. This special event will provide a far-reaching look at the future of Canada's domestic and international illicit drug policies.

Two dozen guest speakers including Health Minister Jane Philpott, former CSIS head Richard Fadden, and US neuro-scientist Dr. Carl Hart will participate in four working streams: 1. International control and management; 2. Decriminalization, regulation and harm reduction; 3. Integrating policing and public health; and, 4. Strategies for health and social equity.

A full list of speakers can be found on the Forum's website:

Dr. Dan Werb, a member of the conference steering committee and a drug policy researcher with St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto, believes that "recent decisions by the Canadian government concerning harm reduction, opioids, cannabis, and sentencing have signaled a new approach. However, the US government is also promising to strengthen an already punitive narcotics regime."

Consequently, Werb believes "Now is the right time to bring together leading voices from across the country to begin thinking about the next decade of drug reform."

The conference has been developed with the support and participation of two dozen leading think tanks and research institutes, including the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, the BC Centre for Disease Control, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Working collaboratively, participants from across the country — including representatives from public health, law enforcement, justice, as well as drug users, will develop a set of recommendations during their two days which will be shared with governments across Canada.

Health Minister Dr. Jane Philpott will address the Forum midday on April 5. The exact timing will be announced shortly and a media availability will follow.

Journalists are welcome to attend plenary portions of the program and are asked to register in advance by contacting the Forum secretariat.


SOURCE Canada's Drug Futures Forum

For further information: Joanna Massie, Forum Coordinator, 1-844-534-9993,

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