The drug war, covered by drug users as war correspondents. Crackdown is a monthly podcast about drugs, drug policy and the drug war led by drug user activists and supported by research. Each episode will tell the story of a community fighting for their lives. It’s also about solutions, justice for those we have lost, and saving lives.
Episode 24: If It Wasn't Drugs It Would Be Something Else
On Episode 24, Garth talks with the best-selling writer and activist Desmond Cole about how police use Canada’s drug war as a pretext for violence against Black communities. Garth and Desmond also discuss the relationship between the movement to decriminalize drugs and the movement to defund and abolish the police.
Episode 23: Cop Free Future
After 113 years, things might be changing in Vancouver. Mayor Kennedy Stewart has written to the federal government, asking for an exemption from Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. If he gets it, the city could decriminalize the simple possession of drugs.
In light of this announcement, Crackdown is taking a look at the birth of the drug war in Canada. When and why did it start? And what is it going to take to finally end it?
Episode 22: We're Not Afraid of Needles Around Here
In the midst of a pandemic and overdose crisis, members of Crackdown’s Editorial Board are relieved to be getting the COVID vaccine. But we don’t just trust the government, so we’re doing our homework. For years, drug users have looked at medical and public health interventions critically, assessing things for ourselves. Drug users are particularly vulnerable to COVID and its new variants. We need to get that vaccine in our arms now. But there is so much disinformation floating around. On episode 22, Dr. Kimberly Sue, Medical Director of the Harm Reduction Coalition, answers our questions about COVID19 and the politics of vaccination.
Something different for you today. We’re swapping shows with the Canadaland Podcast. We’re running one of their episodes, and they’re running one of ours. This is Canadaland’s episode #347 from November - The Brayden Bushby Trial And Pity Porn.
In this episode, Jesse Brown interviews Jody Porter, CBC's national “Indigenous affairs” reporter. Porter reflects on the damage that can come from being a white journalist, telling other people’s stories.
Happy New Year!
Episode 21: Control
Activist Kali Sedgemore and anthropologist Danya Fast tell a story about the government’s desire for control—the way its attempts to detain and manage drug users often backfire.
Crackdown is produced on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.
We make this podcast with funds from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. And from our Patreon supporters.
You can find a complete transcript for today's show, as well as photographs and links to further readings, at patreon.com/crackdownpod. While there, consider giving us a few bucks. It helps a lot.
Our editorial board is:
Rest in Peace Dave Murray and Chereece Keewatin.
Today's episode was conceptualized, written, and produced by Sam Fenn, Alex Kim, Alex de Boer, Danya Fast, Ryan McNeil, and me, Garth Mullins.
Danya Fast’s research is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Vancouver Foundation, The Sick Kids Foundation, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.
Original score written and performed by Garth Mullins, Sam Fenn, and James Ash.
Our credits music was “Pinkjet Pussy” by Randy and the Pandoras. You can buy this song on 100 Block Rock, a compilation of music produced by Downtown Eastside artists.
The next episode is delayed a few weeks. In the meantime, here's what we've been up to.
I’m not the same person I was before I started listening to this podcast. I’ve never heard reporting like this. Everyone should have to listen to it, we’d all be better people.
A big piece is missing
There is so much talk about how drug users are victims of the police, and homelessness, and stigma, and racial profiling, but what about the drugs themselves? Drug users are dying from overdoses, not from homelessness. There is almost no conversation about how to actually get people off of drugs- the root of the problem.
The Drug reporting we need
So few journalists are talking to the folks who use drugs to see what they are experiencing. People in recovery and law enforcement - yes, plenty of air time. But here, you hear what it is like in the trenches, on the “other side” of the drug war. It gives me hope.