In Surrey, "harm reduction" drug approaches a hard sell (Dr. M-J Milloy, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS)

On May 22, Ann Livingston signed the lease for a bubble tea cafe in the heart of Surrey's illicit drug market. Livingston, a prominent activist with the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, planned to convert the cafe into a meeting place and drop-in centre for Surrey's homeless drug users. On July 2, however, she was asked to pack her things and leave.

The events of those 41 days demonstrate how Vancouver's drug problem is shifting into its largest and fast-growing nearby city. But while Vancouver set North American standards for progressive drug policies 13 years ago, naming its approach The Four Pillars, Surrey has not followed Vancouver's lead.

“I think it would be wise for us to listen to intravenous drug users in the Fraser Health Authority,” says M-J Miloy, a researcher at the BC Centre for Excellence, “and those views are not only expressed through our studies, but through VANDU and the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors.”

Gordon Katic and Sam Fenn report

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