What’s Caught our Attention – October 2020

Act Now! Decriminalizing Drugs in Vancouver

Pivot Legal Society has released Act Now: Decriminalizing Drugs in Vancouver. This report is a technical brief with one main recommendation: That non-federal orders of government implement decriminalization locally, by applying to the federal government for an exemption against the offence of simple possession. Though Vancouver is the focus, this recommendation is available to all jurisdictions in Canada, including provincial governments, and broad uptake is encouraged.

As skyrocketing rates of overdose deaths across Canada demonstrate, prohibition-based drug policy is a veritable death sentence for people who use drugs.

You can read the full report here.

The Implications of COVID-19 for Substance Use and Mental Health – A Public Health Perspective

On September 28th, a panel of experts provided federal, provincial and local perspectives on the response to substance use and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. They explored the implications of the pandemic response on substance use and mental health, as well as the response measures that were taken, lessons learned and recommendations as pandemic restrictions across Canada begin to lift.

Speakers included Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health, Ottawa Public Health. You can watch the video recording below:

B.C. pharmacy taking advantage of new rules to deliver safe drug supply directly to patients

A Victoria pharmacy is using new rules around who can deliver a safe supply of pharmaceutical alternatives to street drugs to offer a medication delivery service to clients struggling with addictions.

the daily visits are more than just a medication drop […] Seeing a registered nurse like Tarasoff every day, she says, has provided consistency, accountability and greater access to mental health support.

“Everything is bundled into one and accessed together. I think that is what’s so powerful for us.” said Ross

You can read the article on the CBC website here.


Á:ylexw tel Th’á:lá – Calling of the Heart

…these are our family members, our loves ones and that is why this conversation is so necessary…we all need to stay open to learning… to save lives
Á:ylexw tel Th’á:lá – Calling of the Heart is a new short film about the overdose crisis in Chilliwack by  the Stó:lō Nation.
The video has been produced to spark a dialogue about meeting people where they are at in their life, and seeing people for who they truly are, without judgement.
You can watch the video below:


B.C. awards Binners’ Project $115,000 for recycling training on DTES

For the first time, the Binners’ Project will be receiving provincial funding. The $115,000 will be used to help provide skills and essential training to Downtown Eastside workers.

Binners’ Project is a group of waste-pickers aided by support staff dedicated to improving their economic opportunities, and reducing the stigma they face as informal recyclable collectors.

Binners are among one of the most marginalized groups in urban areas. Their livelihoods stem from refunds received from used containers collected from bins. Binners positively contribute to our environment by diverting a considerable amount of waste from landfills.

You can read the article about the recent funding awarded to the Binners’ Project on the CBC website here.