Melissa Mazereeuw

Melissa Joy Mazereeuw wins Cosmic Sister Emerging Voices Award
Cosmic Sister Emerging Voices Award
with MAPS Canada

Congratulations, Cosmic Sister Emerging Voices Award (CS EVA) recipient Melissa “Maz” Joy Mazereeuw (@mizmaz1111)!

Based in British Columbia, Melissa is a registered nurse specializing in substance use, sexual health and contraception, a human rights advocate and safe space holder who works with vulnerable communities. She co-founded Okanagan Psychedelic Society (@okpsychedelics), a hub for discourse and education around the emerging psychedelic medicine movement in the Western paradigm intentionally creating a safe, nonjudgmental community-driven space to ask questions and talk about safety and harm reduction.

Melissa has a BSc in Nursing from the University of Victoria and works as the Overdose Prevention Nurse in Kelowna, the traditional unceded territory of the Sylix peoples, where she mentors and oversees the development of supervised consumption/overdose-prevention sites. She is a harm-reduction volunteer at innumerable festivals, providing drug-checking services, disseminating important information, and providing psychedelic crisis care. “Working both festival settings and the street community has shown me the stark contrast in privilege and stigma between different substance-use populations,” Melissa says.

“Harm reduction as a public health tool is imperative, but harm reduction really speaks to me as a grassroots, peer-driven transformative movement where community building happens,” she says. “Harm reduction shifts power back into the people’s hand and is what I want to continue to grow in my community.”

Years of working in harm reduction combined with her personal experiences with plant medicine have made social justice and accessibility particularly salient to Melissa. “This movement will only be as powerful as it is accessible,” she says.

In partnership with MAPS Canada’s Examining the Psychedelic Renaissance (@MAPSCanada), the CS EVA increases visibility for talented women in psychedelics and cannabis who work tirelessly in behind-the-scenes roles, as well as newcomers who bring unique voice and talent to the community and/or who shine in spotlight positions.

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October 2020