media release

Drug policy advocate Donald MacPherson receives 2017 Sterling Prize for Controversy

October 06, 2017

Ian Bryce, University Communications, 604.773.8134,


Donald MacPherson, the Executive Director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, is the recipient of the 2017 Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy for his work and influence in public health, human rights, and, drug policy reform in Canada.

He will be presented with the Sterling Prize at an award ceremony on Tuesday, October 10 at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue at SFU’s Vancouver campus.

After the ceremony, MacPherson will give a lecture on drug policy reform. The lecture is free with registration and open to the public.



The Sterling Prize was first awarded in 1993, and remains committed to recognizing work that provokes and contributes to the understanding of controversy, while presenting new ways of looking at the world and challenging complacency. The Prize recognizes work across disciplines and departments, and is awarded annually by the Sterling Prize committee.



  • Tuesday, October 10, 2017
  • 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.



  • Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue
  • 580 West Hastings, Vancouver



  • 2,816 Canadians died last year from opioid-related causes.
  • In British Columbia, the coroner’s service reported 978 illicit drug overdose deaths in 2016. Between January and July this year, 876 people had died.


  • The City of Vancouver’s first official needle exchange program opened in 1989.
  • The Four Pillars Approach was published and adopted by the city in 2001.
  • Supervised drug injection site Insite was founded in 2003.
  • North America’s first prescription heroin clinic, Crosstown Clinic, was opened in November 2014 in Vancouver.



As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 145,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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