Podcast, Community, Social Justice

Episode 41: Advocating for Drug Policy Reform — with Scott Bernstein

March 17, 2020
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On this episode of Below the Radar, our host Am Johal is joined by Scott Bernstein, the Director of Policy at Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, a project based at the Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU. He has also done work with Pivot Legal Society in Vancouver and internationally with Open Society Foundations in New York. Together, Am and Scott talk about his work involving harm reduction, decriminalization and drug regulation policies, and discuss potential regulation models with studies such as North American Opiate Medication Initiative (NAOMI) and Study to Assess Longer-term Opioid Medication Effectiveness (SALOME).

About Our Guest

Scott Bernstein

Scott Bernstein is Director of Policy with the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, where he leads the organization’s work on legal regulation of drugs, decriminalization, and international drug policy.

Through his own legal practice and with Vancouver-based non-profit Pivot Legal Society, Scott has participated in strategic litigation focused on advancing human rights of people who use drugs, including challenging municipal anti-harm reduction bylaws, advocating for access to prescription heroin treatment, and defending Insite, North America’s first sanctioned injection site in the Supreme Court of Canada and lower courts. Prior to joining CDPC, Scott was a program officer with the Global Drug Policy Program of Open Society Foundations in New York. There, he supported collaboration within a global reform movement targeted at the 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session through grant-making, policy expertise and strategic planning, as well as supporting a nascent drug policy reform movement in Africa. Scott has a MSc in environmental studies from the University of Wisconsin and a JD from the University of British Columbia.



Johal, Am. “Advocating for Drug Policy Reform — with Scott Bernstein.” Below the Radar, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Podcast audio, March 17, 2020.


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