VANCOUVER—I spent 20 years injecting heroin. During the year that fentanyl hit the streets, I overdosed six times. On each occasion, I consumed what I believed was heroin but was probably fentanyl or its analogues

3 Sep 2019

Because of the quick reflexes of staff at Insite — the first supervised consumption site in Canada, located on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside — I survived. I was given the chance to keep fighting against my addiction, eventually achieving recovery and the life I have today.

Many people don’t get that chance. People with addiction are dying in huge numbers because of toxic street drugs, while punitive policies fail to take them out of circulation.


I’m here today to tell you that there is a better option.

Overdoses are down, but the toxic supply hasn’t dried up

Here in British Columbia, the provincial Coroners Service reported a slight decrease in overdose deaths this year. The number of fatalities will still be much higher in 2019 than it was five years ago, and I’ll tell you why: a toxic drug supply.

While it looks like overdose deaths are down for now in B.C., according to the BC Centre for Disease Control, the number of overdoses reported is actually rising. This tells us that the crisis is not over. The toxic drug supply is not drying up; it’s just that first responders and the community are getting better at saving lives.

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