Future of DULF compassion club will hinge on judicial review

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Future of DULF compassion club will hinge on judicial review

10 March 2024
Maddi Dellplain
Filter Mag

judicial review of Canada’s decision to deny a peer-led safe supply group an exemption to operate legally will begin on March 7 in the Federal Court of Canada in Vancouver.

In August 2021, Vancouver-based groups the Drug User Liberation Front (DULF) and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), applied for a Section 56 exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). This would have allowed DULF to run a not-for-profit “compassion club”—to purchase, test and sell drugs at cost, in order to protect a small group of adults who use drugs from the adulterated street supply.

Nearly a year after filing, their exemption request was denied by Health Canada.

DULF went ahead with its volunteer-led program anyway, until it was forcibly halted by Vancouver police on October 25, 2023. Co-founders Eris Nyx and Jeremy Kalicum were arrested and released on certain conditions; the Crown has yet to press charges.

Days after the arrests, British Columbia’s chief coroner, Lisa Lapointe, recommended that the province establish and expand non-prescription safe supply programs to reduce deaths.

BC’s drug supply has only grown more dangerous over the last five years. Coroners Service data show 2,511 suspected deaths related to unregulated drugs in 2023, the highest number ever recorded.