Episode 15 - Garth Mullins and the -40° Model


Garth Mullins is an activist and freelancer from Vancouver. He was a former injection heroin user. He has seen far too many people lose their lives to overdose, and delivers a clear message about Safe Drug Supply being a much more concrete solution than the current harm reduction practices of safe injection sites. He lived through two drug crisis; one in the 90s when China White Heroin was prevalent; plus the current Opioid crisis that North America is facing today.

He is currently preparing to launch “Crack Down”, a podcast that aims to bring science and lived experience together, this coming January.

In this episode Garth and Matt navigate some tough topics like Policing, Crackdowns and Decriminalization, Possession Arrests, Harm Reduction Triage, Safe Injection Sites vs the Community, and the brilliant -40° Model.


- Garth discusses the drug crisis in the 90’s when China White Heroin was prevalent in Vancouver and the high rate of HIV. It was difficult to get clean needles back then, where you had to turn in a dirty needle to get a clean one.

- He talks about the contradictions between crack downs and decriminalization.

- Garth states that safe injection sites wouldn’t be needed if a safe supply of clean drugs were given out.

- They brainstorm ideas how to change the stigmas around people struggling with addiction.

- Garth and Matt discuss implementing decriminalization, police stats and possession arrests.

- How harm reduction can sometimes create more barriers to break down.

- They talk about problems and solutions on how to engage with the community in regards to neighbourhood drug houses/use.

- Garth has a brilliant idea about creating a job opportunity to keep drug houses safe; hiring someone to monitor inside a using house with Naloxone and equipment to ensure safety.


“We wouldn’t need a safe injection site if we gave out safe drugs.”

“Decriminalization without a safe supply, is not the whole solution.”

“Let’s Not arrest drug dealers. Arrests create lots of harm, and I don’t know if they do any good.”

“The stigma of a drug user is powerful and the way to deal with that stigma is to convince police to stand down and stop arresting for drug possession. This is how society decides what is stigmatized; by what is legal and what is not.”

“If you don’t put drug users in jail, then you’re not gonna have drugs in jail.”

“We still have policies made by people who don’t understand.”

“The best way to address organized crime; to deal with the Al Capones, was to legalize booze.”

“Drug users have been using safe injections sites for a long time; they just haven’t been official.”


Garth Mullins Twitter: https://twitter.com/garthmullins

Official Say Know homepage: http://www.sayknow.org/

Canadian Research Initiative of Substance Misuse (CRISM) Prairies website: https://crismprairies.ca/

SayKnow.org Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sayknoworg

SayKnow.org Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/SayKnowOrg

Music provided by Redbull DJ Champ, Charly Hustle: http://www.charlyhustlemusic.com

Matt IngrouilleComment