Overdose Awareness

Spotlight On Mental Health

[VCH’s commemorative event on International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31, 2022]

Overdose Awareness 

Is a time to remember those who left us too early from preventable deaths ,

Brothers, sisters, friends , colleague, son, daughters, fathers, mothers, artists, musicians, dancers, movers and shakers, thinkers, comedians, overdose can effect anyone 

There are many people who use substances that are functioning , able to hold jobs and pay bills, their are not thieves , criminals or dangerous, we should not paint everyone with the same brush 

Not all substance use is problematic, substance use can also have positive outcomes, change the quantity of life for those dealing with chronic pain , social anxiety and /or depression. Its part of their coping mechanisms , Keep in mind most aren’t looking for better treatment they just want to be treated better. Allow people the autonomy over their healthcare journey, Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their way of life or substance of choice  

Drugs policy is over 100 years and it’s come from place of fear, discrimination  and segregation with very little facts to back it up 

Even up to this day stigma around substance use, is still a huge barrier to speeding up the process on providing safer supply in order to counter act the unregulated poison drug supply. too many have gone and we’re going on the 7th year of the crisis and we are still negotiating with decision makers, while people die needlessly 

Harm reduction is simple, we meet people where they’re at, we want to reduce the harms, by providing safer smoking , safe injecting and safer sex supplies , the only component missing is safer supply , we understand that not all people who use substances don’t need to be turned into people who don’t use substances, that doesn’t work , we can’t use treatment as a way out of this situation , safer supply and decriminalization are on the horizon , and I see harm reduction as a crucial component to bridging gaps to services 

I would like to give thanks to all the frontline peers and allies for their efforts in advocacy, harm reduction work, take home naloxone, drug testing ,overdose prevention sites, and Oat, and so much more to come in the future as policies change for the better

Now for a little self promotion, if  people with Lived and living experience were more involved in the design, delivering and development from the inception , we would be able to reach folks who would normally stay away from care because of passed experience with stigma and discrimination 

Remember you can’t spell healthcare without “Care”

Paul Choisil