issues and experts

International Overdose Awareness Day – SFU experts available

August 31, 2023

August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) and this year focuses on recognizing those people who go unseen.

In B.C., at least 12,739 people have died from unregulated drugs since the province first declared a public health emergency in April, 2016. 

Simon Fraser University experts are available to provide insight on the ongoing toxic drug crisis and harm reduction initiatives.  


KORA DEBECK, research scientist with the BC Centre on Substance Use at Providence Health Care, associate professor, public policy (limited availability)
Expertise: Health policy, drug use amongst vulnerable populations, youth health and addiction

KANNA HAYASHI,  St. Paul’s Hospital Chair in Substance Use Research, associate professor, health sciences
Expertise: Epidemiology, community-based research, public health and human rights, substance use, and health services for drug-using populations
*See her recently published article, Decriminalization: How police drug seizure, even without arrest, can create harms, in The Conversation Canada

DJ LARKIN, executive director, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, adjunct professor, health sciences
Expertise: Law and public policy with focus on constitutional and human rights law at the intersections of systemically entrenched crises in drug policy, housing, poverty, policing and public space regulation; drug policy.

NICOLE LUONGO, systems change coordinator, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition
Expertise: Advancing education and advocacy supporting a legislative framework that would make all psychoactive drugs legal, safe, and government-regulated. 
*Nicole Luongo is the recipient of the 2023 Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy.


MELISSA SHAW, SFU  Communications & Marketing 
236.880.3297 |

Simon Fraser University
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