Man smiles on Vancouver street near Gastown

Donald MacPherson

Canadian Drug Policy Coalition
Executive Director

Donald MacPherson is an acclaimed human rights advocate and founding Executive Director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (CDPC) located at Simon Fraser University. For over three decades he has been a leading figure in this area of expertise and advocates for renewed local, national, and international drug policies that are based on principles of public health, scientific evidence, human rights, and social inclusion. Since 2020, he has been the chair of the Amsterdam based International Drug Policy Consortium.

Starting in 1987, Donald MacPherson worked for the City of Vancouver as North America’s first Drug Policy Coordinator. He is the author of Vancouver’s ground-breaking Four Pillars Drug Strategy, which called for new approaches to drug policy based on public health principles and the appropriate regulation of all psychoactive substances. MacPherson has published several reports and articles and is co-author of books including: Raise Shit! Social action saving lives (2009) and More Harm than Good: Drug policy in Canada (2016).

MacPherson has received several awards including the Kaiser Foundation National Award of Excellence in Public Policy in Canada (2007), the Richard Dennis Drug Peace Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Drug Policy Reform by the Drug Policy Alliance in the United States (2009); and the City of Vancouver was awarded the Canadian Urban Institute’s Secure City Award for the Four Pillars Drug Strategy. MacPherson has also been awarded with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2013) and Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy at Simon Fraser University (2017).