5 Ways to Take Action for Safer Supply Zine


5 Ways to Take Action for Safer Supply Zine

4 April 2024
Action for Safer Supply

This zine was produced collaboratively by Action for Safer Supply (ASS), an advisory group of the National Safer Supply Community of Practice. All members of this group brought lived expertise to the course of its work, which ran from 2022-2024.

1: Learn about safer supply.
The first step is to get informed! Here are some key points to keep in mind when speaking up and taking action for safe supply.Learn about safer supply

What is safer supply?

Safer supply is a practical strategy for addressing the ongoing toxic drug overdose crisis.The idea is to provide a “safer supply” to people who use drugs by prescribing people medications similar to the substances they rely on. That way, substances come from a trusted source rather than the highly toxic street supply.

Why prescribe safer drugs?

Safer supply gives people a new, safer option to get substances.Drugs bought on the street today are unpredictable, unregulated, and dangerous. Drugs said to be one thing often have hidden ingredients, contaminants and fillers. These can lead to nasty side effects, overdose and death. PWUD and healthcare providers have been doing some form of safe supply for decades. Over time this activism has led to recent legal permissions for formal safer supply programs, plus a growing network of providers.However, these advancements are at risk. Now is the time to work together in defending and expanding safer supply in Canada!

What is the goal?

The goals of safer supply are to:

  • Reduce overdose risk and prevent overdose deaths
  • Reduce the harms caused by the toxic supply of drugs on the streets
  • End the criminalization of drugs and people who use them.
  • Be a tool in the larger fight against intersecting oppressions that impact PWUD, such as racism, colonialism, classism, queerphobia, police brutality, incarceration, the housing crisis, physical abuse, social isolation, and beyond
  • Secure personal autonomy, agency, empowerment, self determination and access to harm reduction for people who use drugs
  • Improve the health, stability, and quality of life of PWUD.

Safer supply works from a harm reduction approach. Harm reduction movements emphasize leadership, knowledge and needs and of people who use drugs (PWUD) above all. They aim to build better, more accessible, less stigmatizing services for PWUD right here, right now.

2: Access safer supply, spread the word!

Demand access to safer supply for yourself and/or others. Learn if you are eligible or educate people you know about accessing safer drugs.Sharing key resources and your lived expertise in your local community is a form of advocacy for safer supply everywhere, strengthening a growing network of providers, patients and activists.Share these resources with medical professionals to equip them with the information they need to go ahead with prescribing.

3: Call and write to officials at every level

It’s also important to advocate for safer supply on the policy level. Local governments such as city council, mayor’s office and other officials often help decide where and how safer supply and other harm reduction programs operate. Find out the status of safer supply in your community. Provincial or territorial governments often have more power over how these programs are permitted, rolled out, funded and developed as they create and pass the legislation that gets carried out by the Ministry of Health. Federal funding has played a major role in getting safer supply projects off the ground at sites across Canada. Even though these programs have proven to be very successful at reducing overdose deaths and improving the health of people who access them, these essential funding contracts have not been renewed and funding to most sites will end completely in 2024. This is unacceptable. Use the addresses below. Adapt the draft on the next page as a starting point for your own letter to the federal government.Make it personal and direct. Politicians do read these!

4: Join the fight!

It’s impossible to describe the unique power and awesome momentum sparked every time people who use drugs work together for change. Luckily, you can feel it for yourself by getting involved!Check out local activist groups, drug user unions and other grassroots groups, and get involved in the fight for safer supply. Even if you aren’t sure how to would contribute, they will always be happy for more hands on deck. They may also be able to help you get access to safer prescriptions yourself.Here is a list with some examples of such groups - they are just waiting to hear from you, so join the fight for safer supply today!

5: Spread this Zine!

Printable and digital versions of this zine can be found at https://www.nss-aps.ca/zine

Give to five of your friends, allies, peers, health providers, politicians, neighbours — whoever you want to take action for safer supply!

Related Profiles

  • National Safer Supply Community of Practice