ONPUD- or Ontario Network of People Who Use Drugs is a provincial association with a large and diverse membership of persons with lived/living experience who work on a multidisciplinary team to inform and shape drug policy through advising, consultation, activism, and membership capacity building. We meet virtually weekly to connect with each other, hold space, create, and work on the many projects we have on the go.
The Ontario Network of People Who Use Drugs works to inform and shape drug policy, through advising, offering consultation, activism, and member capacity building to ensure that the people with lived/living experience have a strong voice on policy, projects, discussions, and programs that impact our lives.
An Ontario where people who use drugs can thrive.
We believe and commit to uphold the following values in our work:
Respecting each other and the stakeholders we work with while recognizing that systems oppress, not people.
Creating space where people can share ideas without feeling attacked.
Working towards fair practices for all.
Transparent and Accountable
Openly sharing our work and doing what we say we will do in a professional and timely manner.
Demonstrating empathy for people and their lived experiences.
Respecting people’s narratives as their own to share or not to share.
Creating space for honest communication and consensus building.
Empowerment and Leadership
Ensuring we lead, are present for, and are empowered regarding conversations about people who use drugs.
Inclusion and Opportunity
Creating opportunities for diverse participation and embracing all identities.
Randy is a founding board member, forever honorary member.
Randy will be missed not only locally, but across the nation as his determination to change fatal drug policy led to his involvement in the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs (CAPUD) and Drug Policy work groups at the Dr. Peter Aids Center. Through that work Randy was able to speak to organizations across Canada and impact operations at Overdose Prevention sites, Treatment and Consumption services, and meet other Drug User Group Leaders in Canada. Randy's ability to advocate and mobilize, his tenacity to overcome adversity and integral to the realization that Ontario needed a strong group of PWUD to direct the response to drug poisonings. He directly contributed to the creation and success of the Ontario Network of People Who Use Drugs (ONPUD), and the Brantford Substance Users Network who engaged in advocacy, harm reduction provision, access to Naloxone, community engagement events, and someone to talk to.
Randy leaves behind a legacy of organizing and mobilizing drug users that will be hard to fill and drug users across Canada grieve his loss.
Natalie Kaminski is from the Region of Peel where they work in harm reduction and founded the Peel Drug Users Network. Throughout their 20s and early 30s they also lived in London Ontario where they became embedded in poverty and experienced systemic violence being a person who; uses drugs, engaged in sex work and had history of incarceration. Most of Natalie’s friends that shared those experiences with them however are either; missing, murdered, dead or dying at the hands of failed policies and laws. Natalie is a white settler on turtle island and remains committed in their various roles; including mother, to dismantle the patriarchal, stigmatizing and oppressive systems that uphold and influence the policies that kill the people they love.
Ashley Smoke is an Indigenous 2-Spirit person from Alderville First Nations whose Spirit Name is Gatherer of Medicines and their roles/responsibilities include Caring for the community, gathering medicines, holding the peace pipe and hunting . They are an advocate and activist for People Who Use Drugs as they have a vast experience with drug use and other intersections of marginalization. They came to this work out of distain for the way the system criminalizes and kills it's most vulnerable members, and a need to correct it so future generations don't have to go through the same trials and tribulations they had to. Ash helped found the Peel Drug User Network and recently founded Northumberland Drug Users Unite and is a member of The Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs. It is through these relationships that they helped to create ONPUD. Ash sits on a variety of advisory boards, is a researcher on a number Research Projects around Canada and does Public Speaking Engagements in order to educate people on the realities of Drug Use and the issues Drug Users face day-to-day.
Leticia Mizon is the President and Founder of peer-lead, harm reduction organization called ‘The Nameless’; based in her hometown of St. Thomas, ON. Leticia can also be found working as a frontline worker at ‘Unity Project for Relief of Homelessness’, an emergency shelter, where she has worked for the last 3 years.
Leticia has been active in the local grassroots advocacy scene for 6+ years, navigating systemic oppression alongside peers, sitting on various boards, planning tables, coalitions, and actively participating in the shift from correction to connection.
When not directly engaged in the fight for dignity and the right to take up space of people who use drugs, amplifying voices from the margins or supporting her community, she can be found at home with her incredible husband and two children, creating textile art for the world.
Sean is a long-time drug user advocate whom founded DUAL (Drug User Advocacy League) in Ottawa in 2010 and is a CAPUD board member, community researcher with Mt Sinai and St Mikes and a consultant for several organizations on issues that affect people who use drugs.. He loves baseball, ice cream, punk rock and Catherine.