PhD Graduate Kat Kolar on a common public health oriented policy framework

April 22, 2018 by Jada Charles

Ph.D. Graduate Kat Kolar co-authored an article published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health. The article is entitled "A common public-health oriented policy framework for cannabis, alcohol and tobacco in Canada", and discusses the outcome of an interdisciplinary drug policy meeting that aimed to explore possibilities of regulation that has the potential to replace the current prohibitive framework.

Kat Kolar obtained her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2018. Her dissertation is titled Differentiating the Drug Normalization Framework: A Mixed Methods Investigation of Substance Use among Undergraduate Students in Canada. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at UBC researching the social integration of substance use and health inequities impacting people who use illicit drugs.

I have posted the citation and abstract below. The full article can be found here. 

Kirst, M., Kolar, K., Chaiton , M., Schwartz , R., Emerson , B., Hyshka , E., … Thomas, G. (2015). A common public health-oriented policy framework for cannabis, alcohol and tobacco in Canada? A Common Public Health-Oriented Policy Framework for Cannabis, Alcohol and Tobacco in Canada?, 106(8).

Support for a public health approach to cannabis policy as an alternative to prohibition and criminalization is gaining momentum. Recent drug policy changes in the United States suggest growing political feasibility for legal regulation of cannabis in other North American jurisdictions. This commentary discusses the outcomes of an interdisciplinary policy meeting with Canadian experts and knowledge users in the area of substance use interventions. The meeting explored possibilities for applying cross-substance learning on policy interventions for alcohol, tobacco and cannabis, towards the goal of advancing a public health framework for reducing harms associated with substance use in Canada. The meeting also explored how the shift in approach to cannabis policy can provide an opportunity to explore potential changes in substance use policy more generally, especially in relation to tobacco and alcohol as legally regulated substances associated with a heavy burden of illness. Drawing from the contributions and debates arising from the policy meeting, this commentary identifies underlying principles and opportunities for learning from policy interventions across tobacco, alcohol and cannabis, as well as research gaps that need to be addressed before a public health framework can be effectively pursued across these substances.