Naloxone kits only go so far. Organizers of the National Day of Action on the Overdose Crisis are demanding safer access to opioids. (File photo)

Victoria advocates demand a safe supply of opioids

The #SafeSupply NOW! cry is part of the National Day of Action on the Overdose Crisis on April 16

People affected by the opioid crisis say they are tired of the federal government’s silence, and are ready to make some noise at this year’s National Day of Action on the Overdose Crisis rally.

Hundreds are set to gather at Centennial Square on April 16 with pots, pans and anything loud. One of those people is Jennifer Howard, whose son Robbie died of a fentanyl overdose in 2016 when he was 24.

Now Howard is a member of Moms Stop the Harm and the South Island Community Overdose Response Network (SICORN). Together, these groups are partnering with the Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs to demand an immediate supply of safe, predictable narcotics for those most at risk of overdose, in a movement called #SafeSupply NOW!

ALSO READ: Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

“Tuesday is about getting to the core of what can be done, and a national response to this crisis includes safer substances and decriminalization of drugs,” Howard said. “Safer substances save lives, we know that people feel criminalized in their drug use… they’re not coming forward for the help and treatment that they need.”

At the beginning of April, the Public Health Agency of Canada released a new report that said between 2016 and 2018, over 10,000 people had died of an opioid overdose.

In B.C., 1,510 people died of an opioid overdose in 2018. Of those, 96 were Victoria residents, meaning the capital has the the third-highest mortality following Vancouver and Surrey.

ALSO READ: Youngest opioid overdose victim in B.C. last year was 10 years old

“What worries a lot of us is people have become numb, they see reports and they become desensitized,” Howard said. ” My son is one of those statistics. My vision is, if I could have relayed Robbie’s life, he could have walked into a physician’s office and said he needs help and been prescribed something that wasn’t tainted, and at the same time offered other resources; a councillor, therapy.

ALSO READ: Victoria councillors push for access to safe drugs

Decriminalization models in countries like Portugal have shown significant improvement in crimes rates and fatalities and been more effective, Howard said, than the band-aid solutions currently enacted by the Canadian government.

“We cannot incarcerate our way out of this crisis; our jails are full of people struggling with this addiction to no relief.”

The event runs Tuesday, April 16 beginning at noon at Centennial Square, and march to the Ministry of Health building at 151 Blanshard St.

For more information, you can visit the event’s Facebook page.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Neighbour details hearing ‘thuds’ the day girls found dead in Oak Bay

Jury at double-murder trial hears from Andrew Berry’s neighbour

‘Goodness prevails’: neighbours reflect following suspicious death of 60-year-old Metchosin man

Martin Payne was found dead in his Metchosin home on Friday. Police have confirmed foul play.

Family cycling affair Tour de Victoria rolls into ninth year

Riders can sign up for the 160 km Factor race, or distances of 140, 100, 60 30 0r 15 kilometers

Repatriation efforts work to heal and connect through history: Royal BC Museum

Victoria museum’s efforts bolstered by B.C. repatriation grant

Big Lonely Doug among largest old-growth trees now on protection list

B.C. to protect 54 old-growth trees, but critics say it’s not enough

VIDEO: Sparrows raise their chicks in Cadboro Bay deck planter

Jill Yoneda captured 11 days up close with tiny Junco sparrows

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Chinook retention begins on North Island, but amid new size limit

DFO calls measures ‘difficult but necessary’ following rockslide on Fraser River

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

Most Read