Donald MacPherson is the executive director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition and one of Canada’s leading figures in drug policy. He advocates policies based on principles of public health, human rights, social inclusion, and scientific evidence and moving away from a criminal justice paradigm where people with health problems are criminalized.
MacPherson worked for the City of Vancouver for 22 years, first as director of the Carnegie Community Centre in the Downtown Eastside and the last 12 as Drug Policy Coordinator for the city. In 2000 he published Vancouver’s groundbreaking Four Pillars Drug Strategy that precipitated a broad public discussion on issues related to addiction.
In 2007 he received the Kaiser Foundation National Award of Excellence in Public Policy in Canada. In 2009 the City of Vancouver was awarded the Canadian Urban Institutes Secure City Award for the Four Pillars Drug Strategy. In 2009 MacPherson was awarded 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. MacPherson is involved at local, national and international levels and is a founding member of the Drug Policy Coalition.