On October 25th, 2023, the Vancouver Police Department raided the homes and arrested two people allegedly behind the Drug User Liberation Front (DULF). DULF is one of the few initiatives working to fix the social crisis driven by the unpredictability of the drug supply in British Columbia. The toxic supply has killed 13,000 people since 2016. DULF has been public in their work to provide a community-based regulated supply in the absence of any level of government or health authority taking appropriate action to save lives. Collective branches of the state and public-private social sector organizations have predominantly stood against any work being done to end the crisis.
The Mainlander Collective has compiled a non-exhaustive list of articles and actions that followed the VCH defunding of and the VPD action against DULF as of October 30th. Here’s how you can support and show your solidarity:
1. First and foremost: Rally for DULF! Friday, November 3rd, 12:30 at Main & Hastings intersection.
DULF has taken on an immense level of risk to save lives and provide a model that could stabilize the drug supply. It is our turn to show that the community supports Jeremy and Eris. It is vital that you attend, bring friends and allies. This is it.
2. Personalize an email from this template & send it ASAP!
It is vital that people who support DULF and their model show it right now.
4. Sign the national open letter demanding an end to the criminalization of safe supply.
In solidarity with DULF, the signatories of this letter demand that Vancouver Police, the City of Vancouver, and the Province of BC:
- Immediately cease criminalizing community-regulated safe supply in BC;
- Restore DULF funding cut by Vancouver Coastal Health;
- Formalize a commitment to create a framework to uphold and protect community-regulated safe supply in BC.
The national letter can be signed here.
5. Read and share statements of solidarity. Encourage your organizations to write their own.
From the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users statement on October 26th:
In a time where no other known medical intervention has proven to significantly reduce drug poisoning death as novel benzodiazepines, tranquilizers, and toxins flood the illicit drug supply, DULF bravely confronts the harms of prohibition itself. Political refusal to engage with alternatives to the demonstrable harms of drug prohibition is nothing but shameful complacency with a status quo of mass death now in its seventh year.
Public health professionals have always relied on drug user knowledge to create policy. Across North America, life-saving harm reduction measures originated from the courageous actions of drug users fighting against the routine persecution and abandonment of their peers. DULF continues in this tradition of civil disobedience against a barbaric regime of drug prohibition.
Care Not Cops published a guest editorial on journalist Dustin Godfrey’s the bind:
DULF has been one of the few groups…doing the labour to undercut the poisoned drug supply that the BC government, nonprofit and health authority executives, and police departments have worked to ensure continues to kill an average of six people per day in BC.
“Government, health and social service leadership are deeply invested in the status quo. They have failed to adequately address the crisis that is killing six people each day. DULF actually tried to undercut the toxicity of the supply, and these institutions likely saw that as a threat, ” says Jenn McDermid, an outreach-based social worker in Vancouver and PhD student in UBC’s Interdisciplinary Studies program.
The Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (CDPC) released a statement titled: When law and policy is unjust, communities have no choice but to act:
The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) arrest of Drug User Liberation Front (DULF) founders on October 25th, 2023 is an act of political and moral cowardice…
When law and policy is unjust, communities have no choice but to act. The VPD themselves agree that their actions could “absolutely” result in drug users who rely on the compassion club’s services consuming more dangerous substances. Premier David Eby said earlier this week that while DULF is doing life-saving work, the government cannot tolerate illegal activity.
Euan Thomson, who hosts the Drug Data Decoded substack, published a brief commentary:
The arrests occurred on Wednesday, and the organizers were released without charge. Instead, VPD issued a press release in a dialect of doublespeak only police could pull off.
Non-exhaustive coverage and other relevant links:
From 2021: Vancouver city council motion that passed to support DULF’s request for federal exemption to the CDSA and operate a compassion club.
Letters of support for DULF’s section 56 exemption: https://www.dulf.ca/los