Upwards of 30 people met in downtown Courtenay to march the streets for National Day of Action on the Overdose crisis. Photo by Jolene Rudisuela

Overdose awareness event calls for safe drug supply

National Day of Action on the Overdose Crisis was April 16

There are four overdose-related deaths each day in B.C.

In 2018, there were 1,510 overdoses in the province.

Eighty-eight per cent of these people die alone.

These were just some of the startling statistics displayed at Tuesday’s National Day of Action on the Overdose Crisis event outside the Courtenay Courthouse.

Approximately 30 people showed up to the event, many carrying signs or black crosses, some with skulls painted on their faces, and even one carrying a large black coffin. On a table sat a number of naloxone kits for people to take, and information about places to turn to for help.

Set up in the grassy area outside the courthouse was Judith Conway’s overdose display, which was recently blessed by the Pope.

READ MORE: Comox overdose awareness display blessed by the Pope

As the group left the courthouse to march the streets of downtown, the procession shouted, “What do we want? Safe supply. When do we want it? Now.”

The local event, put on by Addicts and Allies Humanizing Addiction, is part of a national initiative by the Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs.

According to their Facebook page, the goals of the event include getting the government to declare a national public health emergency, ensure safe drug supplies, get a drug identification number for heroin, decriminalize people who use drugs and provide emergency funding for overdose prevention sites.

“I’m an addict myself. I went into recovery about 14 months ago to treatment with some success,” said Maddison Alexander, a member of AAHA. “I got quite terrified of using on the streets and having a premature death. I’m only 23 and my mom’s been through so much with me already through me being an addict … It was too much for me to picture her burying her daughter.”

Alexander says safe supply is needed, as well as more overdose prevention sites – like the one at AIDS Vancouver Island – so that people can get their drugs tested for fentanyl and have supervision in case of an overdose.

While over 3,200 Canadians died from opioid-related overdoses between January and September of 2018, no one has died in an overdose prevention site to date.

Alexander compared addiction to a disease, explaining that addicts need drugs or alcohol to survive and maintain their lives and health. This is why education on safe drug use is important – for everyone, not just addicts.

“There’s a great huge line that’s drawn between users and people who are not using , but the fact of the matter is, it’s such a grey area that we all wander in and out of throughout our lives, the more people who are aware of how to use [safely], it makes it so that it’s a more comfortable and safe community,” said Alexander.

People who use substances still face a lot of stigma, something that can stand in their way of accessing help. Through this event and continued discussions, Alexander hopes to see stronger communities form.

“It is a national emergency and we want that statement to be out there so as a nation, as a community, we’re all banded together and realizing that it is in everybody’s hands to make a difference.”


jolene.rudisuela@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Maddison Alexander is a member of Addicts and Allies Humanizing Addiction, led Tuesday’s march. She is a recovering addict herself and is advocating for decriminalizing addicts and access to a safe supply. Photo by Jolene Rudisuela

Upwards of 30 people met in downtown Courtenay to march the streets for National Day of Action on the Overdose crisis. Photo by Jolene Rudisuela

Just Posted

Peninsula Co-op hosting matching gift campaign for BC Cancer Foundation

Company will match donations up to $75,000 for Vancouver Island residents battling cancer

Injured humpback returns to waters off Comox a year later

Photographer spotted Ocular again and noticed the whale has been healing

Pacific Salmon Foundation contributes $42,000 to Comox Valley wild salmon restoration projects

The Pacific Salmon Foundation announced it is contributing more than $42,000 to… Continue reading

Multiple complaints filed to Town of Comox against accordion player

Comox received multiple complaints regarding accordion music in a freedom of information request

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Chinook retention begins on North Island, but amid new size limit

DFO calls measures ‘difficult but necessary’ following rockslide on Fraser River

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Most Read