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Vancouver drug advocacy group selling merch calling out a city councillor in inflammatory terms (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

"She told us we were supporting terrorism and child pornography," said one of the group's co-founders.

"We do not sell heroin."

That's a message located at the top of the Drug User Liberation Front's (DULF) online store, which is called the Heroin Mart (hence the confusion). 

The Vancouver-based group has distributed drugs at events aimed at demonstrating the life-saving potential of legalizing drugs in 2021. But the online store isn't a place to score clean dope. 

Instead, DULF co-founder Eris Nyx told Vancouver Is Awesome in a phone interview that the online store is another way for the group to raise revenue for the clean drugs it distributes at events. In the past, DULF and its allies, such as the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), have hosted fundraisers. 

But the website and its merchandise also serve another important purpose, noted Nyx. 

"Anything we can do to get people to pay attention," she explained, highlighting that "there's [been] a lot of talk and very little action" regarding the legalization of drugs in the country. 

In October 2021, Vancouver City Council unanimously approved a motion that endorses a federal exemption for a compassion club model to supply safer drugs to people who use drugs. And while it was a unanimous decision, there was some vocal opposition to DULF's sweeping plan. 

Some council members noted that using the dark web to obtain illegal drugs supports crime. Particularly, Councillor Melissa De Genova noted that young, vulnerable women are used as drug mules to move substances in other parts of the world.

DULF believes De Genova's rhetoric is dangerous for its members, noted Nyx, adding that the stigma surrounding people who use drugs creates barriers to accessing a safe supply. 

The group has created a pin for sale on its site that reads: "Melissa De Genova is a pumpkin-headed [expletive]" as well as a $50 t-shirt described as a Ltd. Edition "Official" MDG Campaign Shirt 2022. The shirt reads "follow the money" on the back above "Melissa Spaghetti De Genova." As of Friday (Jan. 14), DULF had sold roughly 50 of the shirts. 

When asked if they were concerned that De Genova may take legal action against the group, Nyx said she isn't concerned with the councillor's reaction. 

"That would be just so funny to me," she explained. "She told us we were supporting terrorism and child pornography."

Nyx went on to say that people should "be able to make statements about our politicians," particularly when the politicians are making harmful accusations. Further, since the summer of 2021, she has lost six friends to the overdose crisis. 

V.I.A. reached out multiple times by phone and email to De Genova for comment, who did not respond. 

Legalization of drugs in Canada

DULF has only received one email from the federal government since city council approved the motion for the exemption, added Nyx. As time goes on, she fears more people will die as a result of a toxic drug supply.

"I know as many people who have destroyed their lives with alcohol as I do with heroin. We need to regulate the deregulated market," she underscored. 

Appointed as B.C.'s first provincial health officer on May 3, 1999, Dr. Perry Kendall first declared the overdose crisis to be a public health emergency in April 2016.  He told Vancouver Is Awesome that it is "inexcusable and unethical" that a clean supply of heroin isn't available to people who use drugs. 

Fair Price Pharma, a Canadian non-profit pharma company, can supply DULF with injectable pharmaceutical heroin. The company is led by Kendall, who has been corresponding with the organization regularly. 

"I think it is inexcusable that it is not more widely offered in Canada," he said. "I can think of no other evidence-based, effective treatment for a life-threatening condition that is withheld from individuals who could benefit from it.

Have a look at a previous interview with DULF.