A compassion club in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside that has been breaking the law in order to protect its members has proof its harm reduction initiative is working.
Last week the Drug User Liberation Front published a study based on its first year of operation that found quality of life improved for many of its users, with people reporting fewer overdoses and negative interactions with police, less hospitalization and less drug-related violence.
Since 2022, DULF co-founders Jeremy Kalicum and Eris Nyx have been buying large quantities of illicit cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines off the dark web, rigorously testing the drugs to ensure they know the purity of the substance and selling the drugs to compassion club members at a below-market cost.
This allows people who use drugs to know what substances they are taking, which helps reduce the risk of a toxic drug overdose, Kalicum told The Tyee.
Illicit street drugs in B.C. and Canada have been rising in potency over the last decade and today are often mixed with fentanyl or even more potent analogues such as carfentanil, making the illicit supply unpredictable and dangerous.