Donald MacPherson

Can Drug Policy Coalition
Executive Director

Donald MacPherson is the Executive Director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition and one of Canada’s leading figures in drug policy. He advocates drug policies based on principles of public health, scientific evidence, human rights and social inclusion. He is involved in drug policy work at local, national and international levels and is a founding member of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition.

Formerly, MacPherson was North America’s first Drug Policy Coordinator at the City of Vancouver where he worked for 22 years. He is the author of Vancouver’s groundbreaking Four Pillars Drug Strategy, which called for new approaches to drug problems based on public health principles and the appropriate regulation of all psychoactive substances. MacPherson is also co-author of Raise Shit! Social action saving lives (2009) and More Harm than Good: Drug policy in Canada (2016). In 2007, he received the Kaiser Foundation National Award of Excellence in Public Policy in Canada. In 2009, he 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 and the City of Vancouver was awarded the Canadian Urban Institutes Secure City Award for the Four Pillars Drug Strategy.

MacPherson also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 for his work in drug policy reform. In 2017, MacPherson was presented with the Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy at Simon Fraser University.