In November 2014, SOLID co-hosted a community convergence on the criminalization of poverty. Over 100 people in attendance, with reps from BCYADWS, SOLID, VANDU, Ankors, Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society, Committee to End Homelessness Victoria and others. Stay tuned for the follow-up meeting, with the aim of developing a strong BC-wide network opposing police targeting of the poor.
On October 16 and 17, 2013, a national meeting of peer-run organizations of people who use drugs was held in Victoria, BC. At the meeting, there were over 40 people from across Canada, including representatives from 14 independent peer-run organizations, peer representatives from BC Health Authorities and supporters from ally organizations. The meeting was organized by a national steering committee composed of representatives from peer-run
organizations across Canada. The national steering committee met monthly for a year preceding the conference. The two-day meeting was planned and hosted by SOLID (Society of Living Illicit Drug Users) in collaboration with the national steering committee, with support from AIDS Vancouver Island (AVI), the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the Canadian Harm Reduction Network, Centre for Addictions Research of BC (CARBC), the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (CDPC), and the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group (VIPIRG).
Focus article on the Peer Convergence, a day long event run by and for people who use(d) illicit drugs in Victoria! This year’s event was a great success with over 75 people who use drugs and 15 service providers in attendance. The workshops run by graduates of the Leadership Street College addressed issues of criminalization, stigma and street survival!
“Last week, an outreach worker with SOLID was stopped by Victoria Police for carrying drug paraphernalia — part of the job when you’re handing out supplies to drug users. Despite displaying a SOLID ID card and handing over a business card, the officer still checked the worker’s record for outstanding warrants. Minutes later, the same outreach worker was questioned by two officers while searching for used needles in a local park.” 2013 Monday Magazine article.
August 13, 2012
LOCAL GROUPS MARK OVERDOSE AWARENESS DAY WITH CEREMONY
Victoria. Local agencies that work with people who use illicit drugs are marking International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31 with a ceremony to remember those who have died from overdose and to inform the public about the importance of decreasing the risk of future overdoses. The Victoria AIDS Resource & Community Service Society (VARCS), AIDS Vancouver Island, the Society of Living Illicit Drug Users (SOLID) and Peers Victoria Resource Society are working together to highlight the need for a community response to the prevention of overdose deaths.
“Our organizations work with people who are at risk,” explains Karen Dennis, Executive Director of VARCS. “Society tends to think of illicit drug users as disposable. We are all people; we all have family and friends who care, and there are things we can do to prevent the deaths of our loved ones and community members.”
Katie Lacroix, Peer Outreach Worker of SOLID agrees. “Our members are people who are incredibly marginalized and incredibly resilient. Drugs and alcohol are a way for them to cope with the reality of the pain in their lives. We are also a vital part of the solution and we take action everyday to reduce the risks associated with drug use, including overdose.”
Within the Vancouver Island Health Authority, fixed site needle exchange and supervised consumption services are still notably absent in Victoria; a situation that increases the risk for illness and overdose amongst people who use drugs. The BC Centre for Disease Control is developing a program to increase access to naloxone (Narcan), a safe and effective antidote to opiate overdose, but this resource is not yet available.
“Overdose impacts us all,” says Marion Little, Executive Director of Peers Victoria Resource Society. “We need to have the resources in place to make sure that people who use substances have access to information and support to reduce their risk.”
The August 31 ceremony will include several speakers, honouring those who have died from overdose, and information about to prevent and respond to overdose.
International Overdose Awareness Day Ceremony
Friday August 31, 10am
corner of Pandora and Quadra
media contact: Karen Dennis, Executive Director of VARCS