Podcast, Urban Issues, Social Justice

Episode 191: Drug Policy — with Dr. Kora DeBeck, Erica McAdam, Kali Sedgemore, and Dean Wilson

October 25, 2022
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This week, our host Am Johal is joined by Dr. Kora DeBeck, Erica McAdam, Kali Sedgemore, and Dean Wilson; four guests who all do important work in research and advocacy for drug users in Vancouver.

They discuss the recent research that they’ve been involved in as well as the past and present models of drug policy in the city, looking at various decriminalisation policies and the current pressing issues of toxic drug supplies and community relationships with the law. Together they consider the future of provincial and federal drug policies, looking towards regulated supply, safety, and support.

About Our Guests

Dr. Kora DeBeck

Dr. Kora DeBeck is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy and a Research Scientist with the BC Centre on Substance Use at Providence Health Care.

She holds a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research/St. Paul's Hospital Foundation-PHCRI Career Scholar Award. Kora is the Principal Investigator for the At-Risk Youth Study (ARYS) which is a longitudinal cohort study of >1,000 street-involved youth who use drugs in Vancouver. The cohort began in 2005 and is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the US National Institutes for Health Research. 

Erica McAdam

Erica McAdam, MPP is a research assistant at the BC Centre on Substance Use in Vancouver, Canada, and a recent graduate from the Master of Public Policy Program at Simon Fraser University.

Erica’s thesis research conducted an evidence-based multi-criteria policy analysis of different decriminalization threshold models for British Columbia. Erica’s thesis research has won several awards, including the Philip Owen Award for Excellence in Policy Research. 

Kali Sedgemore

Kali Sedgemore (they/them) is a Youth Researcher & Consultant at ARYS (At Risk Youth Study), PHS Peer supervisor at MOPS (Molson OPS) & MOPU (Mobile OP unit), Youth Peer Support, VCH Peer harm reduction leader & outreach worker.

They have been a Harm Reductionist with a focus on youth harm reduction & Stimulants. Through lived/ing experience with substance use, homelessness and government care they advocate, educate, consult & bring awareness to these issues. Currently, they are sitting president of the Coalition of Peers dismantling the drug war (CPDDW).

Dean Wilson

Dean Wilson is the past president of VANDU.

He started the non-profit BCAPOM (British Columbia Association of People on Maintenance) that has become a major proponent of life saving opiate substitution programs. Was awarded the Queens Jubilee Medal for work in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver and is known internationally as a harm reduction activist. He works at PHS Community Services (Portland Hotel Society) as a community liaison and at the BCCSU (British Columbia Centre for Substance Use) as Peer Coordinating Lead.

Cite This Episode

Chicago Style

Johal, Am. “Drug Policy — with Dr. Kora DeBeck, Erica McAdam, Kali Sedgemore, and Dean Wilson.” Below the Radar, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Podcast audio, October 25, 2022.


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