Donald MacPherson is the Executive Director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition and an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. He is one of Canada’s leading figures in drug policy reform. He advocates drug policies based on principles of public health, scientific/cultural evidence and human rights. He is involved in drug policy work at local, national and international levels and is a founding member of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition. He is also currently Board Chair of the International Drug Policy Consortium.
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.
In 2017, MacPherson was presented with the Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy at Simon Fraser University. In 2019, he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award from the BC Centre on Substance Use and an Honorary Doctorate from Adler University in Chicago/Vancouver for his contribution to social justice in the field of drug policy.