Press Release: September 10: Addressing the Opioid Poisoning Crisis (press release)

We are in the midst of an opioid poisoning crisis. If this were our food or water, we would not hesitate to act. We need to move beyond misinformation, discrimination, stigma, and fear and align our resources to deliver empathetic and effective responses.

My strategy supports the proven four pillars approach, community support models, comprehensive care access, and collaboration with senior levels of government.

I support a comprehensive four pillars approach to tackle the crisis, including

  • Supporting urgent efforts to replace the toxic illegal drug supply with safer options for people
  • Increasing the availability of naloxone
  • Improving comprehensive access to care
  • Supporting front-line prevention and treatment options

I also support the expansion of the Injectable Opioid Substitution Treatment, as recently announced by BC Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy D’Arcy.

My action plan commits to taking the following measures to address this crisis:

  • Reinstate and advance a strong four pillars approach at City Hall with a new lead program director.
  • Work to address stigma and change attitudes towards people who use drugs through education, public dialogue and community engagement.
  • Commit to supporting urgent actions to address the drug poisoning problem by working with partners to ensure a supply of clean drugs for people who use drugs.
  • Work towards decriminalization of possession of drugs for personal use in collaboration with the Federal Government, the VPD, and the RCMP.
  • Provide ongoing support for community-based models of overdose response and peers working on the front lines of the overdose crisis.
  • Create a clear and innovative plan for the Downtown Eastside with those who live, work, and play in the area. Activate public spaces in a way that aligns with that plan. With due credit to City Council candidate Sarah Blyth, implement a garbage purchase program for homeless individuals that will enable people who are homeless and city workers to work together to keep our streets clean.
  • Work with other levels of government, including indigenous leaders, and health authorities to develop a mental health strategy.

This is not a crisis we can afford to ignore. We have allowed this problem to get worse by decades of inaction towards modernizing our approach to drugs and addressing addiction issues through a comprehensive public health approach. We need a local government that is committed and equipped to tackle this problem head-on.

My campaign platform is formally rolling out as a series of public announcements. Read about each below by following links, and watch this space as planks appear in coming days.