The Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) was formed in 1998 to bring together groups of people who use drugs. VANDU is dedicated to improving the lives of drug users, their families, and our communities.
VANDU is committed to increasing the capacity of people who use illicit drugs to live healthy and productive lives. We do this by affirming and strengthening people who use illicit drugs to reduce harms both to themselves and their communities.
We organize in our communities to save lives by promoting local, regional, and national harm reduction education and interventions.
VANDU challenges traditional client/service provider relationships and empowers drug users to design and implement harm reduction interventions.
VANDU believes in every person’s right to health and well-being. We also believe that all people are competent to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities from drug-related harm.
VANDU is committed to ensuring that drug users have a real voice in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them.
VANDU understands that drug use ranges from total abstinence to severe abuse – we recognize that some ways of using drugs are clearly safer than others.
VANDU recognizes that the realities of poverty, racism, social isolation, past trauma, mental illness, and other social inequalities increase people’s vulnerabilities to addiction and reduces their capacity for effectively reducing drug-related harm.
Together with the citizens of Vancouver, VANDU works to minimize the harmful effects of illicit drug use by calling for a wide spectrum of effective, compassionate, well-researched interventions such as heroin and cocaine prescription programs, housing for users, and accessible, effective detox and addiction treatment.
Illicit drug overdose deaths and illnesses are preventable. And the corruption of our law enforcement, drug-related crime, and the black market for illicit drugs are direct results of the ill-conceived and futile drug war.