"After losing a year-long battle to secure a federal exemption to operate, in August 2022, the Drug Users Liberation Front (DULF), a community-level non-profit in the Downtown Eastside, piloted an Evaluative Compassion Club for individuals who use cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine, live in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, and were at high risk of overdose (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 2022). Over fourteen months, eligible individuals enrolled as members, granting them the ability to purchase, at cost, up to fourteen grams of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine per week at a fixed storefront space in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (Drug Users Front Liberation, 2023). All substances were tested via paper spray mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and high-performance liquid chromatography prior to sale to ensure quality and a lack of potentially fatal contaminants, and labeled so that participants were aware of the contents (see Fig. 1, Fig. 2 for example) (Drug Users Front Liberation, 2023). The club's operations spanned four days per week, totaling twenty-four hours, and the Club's physical space included an on-site overdose prevention site (Drug Users Front Liberation, 2023). Compassion clubs of this kind are novel, and there appears to be no evidence specific to this form of intervention focused on ensuring access to a safe supply of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. This type of collective initiative does bear some similarities to other types of compassion or “buyers” clubs, including those focused on providing access to medicinal cannabis or antiretroviral therapy for HIV disease (Kent, 1999; Rhodes and van de Pas, 2022), but it represents a highly novel form of safe supply programming."


Jeremy Kalicum, Eris Nyx, Mary Clare Kennedy, Thomas Kerr, The impact of an unsanctioned compassion club on non-fatal overdose, International Journal of Drug Policy, 2024, 104330, ISSN 0955-3959, doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2024.104330.