Systems Change: Envisioning a Canada Beyond Prohibition

After 100 years of law enforcement-focused policies based on the prohibition of substances, it is finally becoming clear to many people around the world that criminalization, stigma, and relying on policing to protect citizens from the harms of substance use is not working. Thousands of lives have been lost over the past three years because of a poisoned illegal drug supply and countless others have been criminalized, stigmatized, denied life-saving harm reduction services, and pushed to the margins of society.

Despite decades of drug prohibition and punitive drug policies, substances are more widely available to Canadians of all ages, cheaper than ever and organized crime is flourishing. While the end of the prohibition is still not in sight, it is clear that the current system is seriously flawed. What would an alternative approach look like in a post-prohibition Canada?

Join our panel of experts from Canada and abroad to consider how to get beyond prohibition and how substance use could be impacted. We’ll discuss principles and models for regulating and controlling substances that are currently illegal, with an aim to promoting public health, human rights, and social inclusion of people who use drugs. In a post-prohibition system, what needs to be done to remedy the harms to victims of the war on drugs and how do we create a just, healthy, and safe system moving forward.


  • Garth Mullins, Writer, Award-Winning Broadcaster, and Activist


  • Steve Rolles, Senior Policy Analyst, Transform Drug Policy Foundation (UK)
  • Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of Toronto
  • Suzanne Fraser, Professor, Public Health, Curtin University (Australia)
  • Zara Snapp, Co-founder, Instituto RIA (Mexico)

Please note: entrance to the building at 149 W. Hastings St. is closed due to ongoing renovations on the ground floor. Please use the doors on the Cordova St. side, accessible through the Woodward’s courtyard

This event is FREE. To register, click here.

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Third Party Event