SFU Vancouver Lunch 'n' Learn

About the Lunch 'n' Learn:

Date: Wednesday, May 3
12:00 - 1:00pm
Location: SFU Harbour Centre, room 2270, 515 W. Hastings St.

Since the declaration of a public health emergency of drug poisoning deaths in 2016 which was exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, public policy makers in British Columbia have struggled to implement effective responses. Seven years into this health catastrophe, death rates continue at unprecedented levels. Drawing on over a decade of past research and current research-in-progress, Dr. Kora DeBeck will discuss key public policy lessons from her program of research that can inform responses to the toxic drug poisoning crisis.

Based on an open prospective cohort of more than 1,200 street-involved young people who use drugs (age 14-25) in Vancouver (the At-Risk Youth Study ARYS), Kora’s research brings attention to the relevance of adverse childhood events, colonization and intergenerational trauma, economic insecurity and drug criminalization in shaping substance use risks and harms. Implications for current substance use related policy approaches including expansion of addiction treatment (including involuntary treatment), decriminalization of drug possession, and safe supply interventions will be discussed as well the critical importance of including people with lived and living experience in research and policy development.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Kora DeBeck is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy at SFU and a Research Scientist with the BC Centre on Substance Use at Providence Health Care. Kora is the Principal Investigator of the At-Risk Youth Study (ARYS), a CIHR and US National Institutes of Health-funded ongoing prospective cohort study of street-involved young people who use drugs. She holds a Masters of Public Policy from SFU, a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from UBC and was a CIHR New Investigator and a MSFHR-St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation/Providence Health Care Career Scholar.

Kora has a strong track record of scholarly publications having published more than 170 peer reviewed studies. Her research appears in high impact health and policy journals including Lancet HIV, the Journal of Adolescent Health, Pediatrics, the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the Journal of Public Health Policy, Addiction, Drug and Alcohol Dependence and the International Journal of Drug Policy among others. She is dedicated to knowledge translation and ensuring that her policy research findings address community priorities and are translated into improvements in health and wellbeing for people who use drugs.

Kora was a member of the City of Vancouver’s working group on drug decriminalization and was a contributor to the City’s 2021 application to allow for the decriminalization of drug possession. She currently sits on the BC Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions’ Decriminalization Research and Evaluation Working Group. Kora is also devoted to teaching and mentorship. She currently teaches Public Policy Issues and Analysis which focuses on the methodology of public policy analysis. Learning and integrating Indigenous content and embedding anti-racism and anti-colonial perspectives in her teaching and research is a practice that she is dedicated to as a Settler.