Come on out for our AGM on Dec 2nd. Membership is free and open to anyone who identifies as a current or former user of illicit drugs (note: ‘illicit’ does not apply to marijuana or alcohol use). Great chance to learn about our outreach and education programs, elect our new board of directors and learn more about how we operate. See you there!
Between 2006 and 2013, at least 281 people died on the streets in British Columbia. Due to under-reporting, that number is likely much much higher. Victoria has the highest number of street deaths per capita in BC. In a four month period, 30 people died on the streets of this city.
These deaths are preventable. Not only are there tangible causes, but viable solutions. We need adequate health services, social housing, and harm reduction services. We need all levels of government to commit to eliminating poverty and preventing street deaths. See below for event info – see you there!
Tuesday June 16th — 4th Annual Convergence by and for people who use(d) illicit drugs
First Met Hall, 932 Balmoral, 9am – 3pm
open to people who use(d) illicit drugs
Wednesday June 17th — Moving Forward: Public Forum on Supervised Consumption Services
6:30pm – 8pm, First Met Hall (932 Balmoral)
Thursday June 18th — ‘Death as a Social Justice Issue: Perspectives on Death and Dying on the streets of Victoria': panel discussion
2 – 4 pm, Central library Community Rm (732 Broughton)
Friday June 19th — ‘Street Deaths are Preventable Deaths’ Rally
More about the Wednesday Night Panel
Marianne Alto Councillor, City of Victoria & Director, CRD
Katie Lacroix Chair, yes2scs Peer Advisory Committee
Bernie Pauly Scientist, Centre for Addictions Research of BC
Bruce Wallace, Assistant Professor, UVic School of Social Work
More about the Thursday afternoon panel
In 2014, a Megaphone report revealed that homelessness cuts an individual’s life expectancy in half. As part of the Street Deaths are Preventable Deaths week of action and education, panelists in this forum will offer the audience perspectives on death and dying on the streets of Victoria. These perspectives will include the situation ‘on the ground;’ barriers and facilitators to healthcare; and responses and strategies to improve quality of life for our community members.
While there is a tendency to put fault in the hands of the ‘at-risk’, ‘vulnerable’ and ‘marginalized,’ this forum seeks to explore systemic inequities that create and maintain marginalization. We hope to move the issue of death and dying in this population beyond awareness and motivate the audience to be part of strategies for social change.
Bernice Kamano, Aboriginal Coalition
Bernie Pauly, Centre for Addictions Research of BC
Bruce Wallace, Street Deaths are Preventable Deaths Campaign & UVic Faculty of Social Work
Grey Showler, Palliative Outreach Resource Team (PORT) & Cool Aid Community Health Centre
Kristen Kvakic, PORT & AIDS Vancouver Island
Yvette Ringham-Cowan, Cultural Safety Program, Island Health
The Peer Convergence is a one-day, multi-workshop event held at the First Metropolitan Church in Victoria. It is a grassroots initiative focused on community building by and for people who use illicit drugs (PUID) and who face significant marginalization, stigma and barriers to health. Last year, over 50 PUID and 25 health and social service providers came together to learn from each other.
This event is an opportunity for graduates of Street College courses to put their advocacy and teaching skills into practice – all part of building local capacity, and a collective voice for change in regional/national health and drug policy and harm reduction services.
Workshops over the years have included: safer use, harm reduction 101, supervised consumption services, OD prevention, social profiling
The Victoria Police Department (VicPD) conducted a Community Survey during March – April 2014 aimed at understanding community experiences of local policing and perceptions of safety in Victoria. Their survey is intended to inform VicPD’s strategic planning for 2015. Due to the mail-out nature of the VicPD survey, we recognized this survey would not reach individuals with no fixed address. We also recognized that feedback from this demographic is a critical component in informing strategic planning regarding community policing (as people with no fixed address have among the most frequent interactions with police).To address this, we delivered a modified version of the VicPD survey to 110 individuals with no fixed address (ie. people who are homeless or transiently housed) from May to August 2014. Our intention is that the valuable experiences of individuals with no fixed address will inform ongoing oversight and review of processes concerning VicPD operations.
To mark the first National Harm Reduction Day in Canada (June 12th), CAPUD is releasing a report calling for dramatic changes in the participation of people who use illicit drugs in the services, policies and research that directly impact their lives. [download English and French versions of the report below]
The report, Collective Voices/Effecting Change, is the result of a national meeting of fourteen organizations of people who use drugs from across Canada in October 2013. Meeting in Victoria BC, and hosted by members of SOLID, representatives highlighted multiple issues that impact the health, safety and well being of people who use drugs. The report outlines main issues all groups face, including lack of access to affordable housing, stigma and discrimination in access to housing and health care services, police harassment, criminalization and the need for drug policy reform, and lack of harm reduction services, particularly in rural areas.
Upholding the human rights of people who use drugs means ending these forms of discrimination, and the way to do this is to ensure people who use drugs are at the table when it comes to health services, research and drug policy. The report is geared towards immediate action on the ground, calling directly on people who are developing policy, programs, services and undertaking research to recognize these issues and to follow through on our recommendations.