Susan C.  Boyd

Distinguished Professor, University of Victoria

Susan C. Boyd is a scholar/activist and distinguished professor at the University of Victoria. She has authored several articles and books on drug issues, including Busted: An Illustrated History of Drug Prohibition in Canada. She was a member of the federal Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation. She is a long-time activist who collaborates with groups that advocate for the end of drug prohibition and for the establishment of diverse services.

  • Heroin

    An Illustrated History

    By Susan C.  Boyd     May 2022

    The only book-length Canadian history of the harm done from criminalizing heroin users and addicts, the most horrendous being overdose epidemics caused by poisoned drugs.

  • Busted

    An Illustrated History of Drug Prohibition in Canada

    By Susan C.  Boyd     December 2017

    Visually engaging and approachably written, Busted is a timely examination of Canada’s history of drug control and movements against that control. Susan Boyd argues that in order to chart the future, it is worthwhile for us as Canadians to know our history of prohibition.

  • More Harm Than Good

    Drug Policy in Canada

    By Susan C.  Boyd, Connie I. Carter and Donald MacPherson     April 2016

    In More Harm Than Good, Carter, Boyd and MacPherson take a critical look at the current state of Canadian drug policy and raise key questions about the effects of Canada’s increasing involvement in and commitment to the “war on drugs.”

  • Raise Shit!

    Social Action Saving Lives

    By Susan C.  Boyd, Donald MacPherson and Bud Osborn     August 2009

    This book tells a story about community activism in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side (DTES) that culmi-nated in a social justice movement to open the first official safe injection site. This story is unique: it is told from the point of view of drug users – those most affected by drug policy, political decisions and policing. It provides a montage of poetry, photos, early Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) meetings, journal entries from the Back Alley, the “unofficial” safe injection site, and excerpts from significant health and media reports. The harms of prohibition, and resistance, hope, kindness, awakening and collective action are chronicled in these pages.

    raise shit

    we have become a community of prophets in the downtown eastside rebuking the system and speaking hope and possibility into situations of apparent impossibility

    to raise shit is to actively resist and we resist with our presence with our words with our love with our courage

    by Bud Osborn

  • With Child

    Substance Use During Pregnancy, A Woman-Centred Approach

    Edited by Susan C.  Boyd and Lenora Marcellus     December 2006

    Drug use is among the behaviours that are associated with or a consequence of poverty. The contributors to this volume propose that those who provide services for pregnant drugusing women must recognize that care of women with social problems that affect pregnancy outcome should be approached in the same way as care for women with medical problems that have obstetric consequences. This book provides practitioners and researchers with valuable information about maternal drug use, best practices and policy.

  • Toxic Criminology

    Environment, Law and the State in Canada

    Edited by Susan C.  Boyd, Dorothy E. Chunn and Robert Menzies     January 2002

    Critical research, writing and advocacy by legal academics and practitioners, NGOs, indigenous peoples and eco-feminists has existed on a global scale since the 1960s, but not until the 1990s did criminologists begin to examine environmental crime in a more concerted way. This late entrance by criminologist has much to do with who is involved in environmental crime–namely upper strata, mostly “white” men who run corporations and state agencies and the perception of environmental crime as soft crime. There are “critical” criminologists who are attempting to enforce existing legislation and policies and/or promote public education. For these reformists, debates tend to centre around prospective strengths and weaknesses of criminal law, civil law and self-regulating and other methods of policing and protecting ecosystems. Other criminologists examine how the “toxic” or “criminogenic” nature of capitalism enables states to facilitate and perpetrate environmental harms with virtual impunity. Toxic Criminology is the work of an assemblage of academics, activists, politicians and legal practitioners, all of whom harbour a wide range of interests and involvements in the study of, and resistance against, environmental wrongdoing. Individually and collectively, the authors address theoretical, politico-economic, legal, cultural and human dimensions of crimes and harms against the Canadian environment.

  • Abusing Power

    The Canadian Experience

    Edited by Susan C.  Boyd, Dorothy E. Chunn and Robert Menzies     January 2001

    Abusing Power: The Canadian Experience is a book about crime, law, power and social (in)justice. The contributors include academics, legal practitioners, journalists and social activists who have been studying and struggling for years against the abuse of power in myriad realms of Canadian life. This book represents the first systematic effort in this country to integrate a variety of topics related to power abuse into a single collection.