An Abbotsford network of current and former drug users and advocates will be holding an event in Jubilee Park to mark the national day of action on the overdose crisis.
The day of action is being co-ordinated by the Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs, while the local event is being put on by the Drug War Survivors (DWS).
The public is invited to the event on Tuesday, April 16 at 3 p.m., when there will be speakers with lived experience, as well as a bubble release as a memorial for those lost to overdoses.
“There’ll be some memorializing of the people we’ve lost. We’ve lost a number of people in just the last few weeks, so it was important to us that there was a memorial aspect to it,” said DWS program co-ordinator Amanda Bonella.
Bonella said the community needs to examine prohibition and how the criminalization of drugs – and those who use them – facilitates the contamination of the drug supply. The introduction of fentanyl into the illicit opioid market, and the subsequent contamination of other substances, is often attributed to its ease of importation due to the significantly reduced quantity required for a dose.
“And that is killing people, and we need to be able to have a real dialogue about how do we get people a safe supply,” Bonella said.
“That is the point of the day of action, a Canadian-wide, unified messaging that this poison – enough is enough. And the pharmaceutical version of all of these drugs are available, and so much cheaper – never mind all the costs implied when people have to scrounge around for the money to get the poisonous drugs.”
At the event, Bonella said there will be education available to the public, including naloxone kits and training.
“Every citizen should know how to administer naloxone and have access to a naloxone kit, and if they come out and see us, we’ll very lovingly show them how to do it and make sure they know how to stay in contact with us and have a kit available to give them,” Bonella said.
“We want to involve the entire community because it is no longer a fringe issue.”