Hands off the Drug User Liberation Front!

The Drug User Liberation Front (DULF) — founded and led by Eris Nyx and Jeremy Kalicum — is under intense attack by the Canadian government. In 2023, both Nyx and Kalicum were arrested for alleged possession of drugs with the intent to traffic drugs. Trafficking, however, was never their intention. To do so they would have to actually sell them. If anything, they bought the drugs at a cost to themselves and their organization.

Why did they do this? They were sick and tired of friends, loved ones, neighbors, community members and even strangers dying of overdose due to tainted drugs. Vancouver, British Columbia, is a hub for Canada’s drug epidemic. More opioids are illicitly available there than other regions in Canada, and Vancouver could potentially rival the Kensington section of Philadelphia in terms of the number of drug users and how many deaths occur.

Nyx and Kalicum saw this and were moved to organize the Drug User Liberation Front, an organization dedicated to the freedom and liberation of drug users. What does liberation for drug users mean? It means the ability to use drugs without fear of harassment, marginalization or attack by police, other state actors and non-drug users. It means the ability to get drugs that are free of adulterants such as the zene family of drugs (including etonitazene and etonitazene), fentanyl analogues (carfentanil, acetylfentanyl, butyrfentanyl and others), and animal tranquilizers (xylazine, medetomidine). 

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

An emergency situation has arisen. Both Kalicum and Nyx have officially been charged by Vancouver police with having possessed drugs for the purpose of trafficking under Section 5(2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. This will result in a minimum of two years in prison if the prosecution proves that they intended to traffic drugs. The decision to charge Nyx and Kalicum came as a surprise to one of their lawyers, Stephanie Dickson, because the two were providing a humane service to the community in preventing overdose deaths.

DULF’s compassion club

The Drug User Liberation Front managed to gather up a vast supply of pure heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines from the “Dark Web” — internet sites hidden from the normal web — and had it tested for purity. The drugs that were tainted were destroyed, and the drugs that were pure (or close to it) were distributed for free. The fact that these drugs were free prompts the question: What kind of drug trafficker gives away their entire supply for free and with no questions asked?

The model the Front was using is called the “compassion club” model. What is a compassion club? It is a facility or organization that makes pure legal or illegal drugs for recreational use available. In this case, the Vancouver compassion club supplied heroin, coke and meth. 

The history of compassion clubs goes back to the 1980s and early 1990s, when so-called “buyers’ clubs” were founded in New York, California, Florida, Texas and other states in order to distribute legal or experimental medications to treat the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The big difference between a buyers’ club and a compassion club is that the drugs from a compassion club are, notably, free.

DULF’s original plan was to acquire medical-grade diacetylmorphine — using this drug in this instance and not heroin to make clear the division between an illicitly acquired street drug and a medication being used to prevent overdose or death. Yet Health Canada, Canada’s department of health and health policy, refused to grant them access to 100% pure medical graded diacetylmorphine. Even with that as a barrier, DULF still went ahead and distributed drugs to save the lives of chaotic drug users, whose lives were at risk because of contaminants in their usual drug supply. 

Drug users’ right to live

What makes this a revolutionary act? The fact that acknowledging that drug users deserve to live is actually radical, because many in society — particularly in the capitalist state — take a position that drug users deserve what they get, because they made a bad or sinful choice. Groups like DULF hold the radical view that drug use should not be criminalized or result in prison.

What can we do to respond to this heinous attack on drug users? We must continue to give their cases attention. We must push harder for safer drug supply. Nyx and Kalicum are heroes, not criminals. We need to take up actions in their favor, protest at Canadian embassies and spread the word of the repression they’re facing. 

Free Jeremy Kalicum and Eris Nyx! Hands off the Drug User Liberation Front!

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