Hear Us, See Us, Respect Us: Respecting the Expertise of People Who Use Drugs

Keywords Human Rights, Social Inclusion, Harm Reduction, Living Wage, Nothing About Us Without Us, War on Drugs


The Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs works to reduce the oppression that people who use drugs face and emphasize the need for their direct involvement in public policy decision making. The Canadian Drug Policy Coalition works to advance and realize drug policies grounded in compassion that shift the public narrative around substance use and people who use drugs. These national organizations created this Report to provide concrete recommendations for government, non-profits, and community-serving organizations to implement equitable and inclusive employment practices and policies for people who use drugs. It outlines recommendations for meaningful engagement of people who use drugs in decision making, particularly in decisions that have a direct impact on their lives.  

Practice & Policy Implications

  • The deep involvement and expertise of people who use(d) drugs is unique and offers an example of how to effectively engage those with lived experience in identifying existing and emerging best practices.
  • The community-engaged research approach offers an adaptable framework for reflecting on employment policy making with communities, including an interview guide.
  • The clear and concrete recommendations for inclusive and meaningful engagement could inform approaches for engaging with other marginalized groups.

Image source: https://zenodo.org/record/5514066#.ZFlKoHbMKUk

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