Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Harm reduction is an important part of the prevention of deaths associated with drug use, overuse or abuse. In Winnipeg, the vulnerable are the main victims of the opioid crisis. Throughout the country, the most vulnerable are the main victims.
The homeless and the indigenous population within Canada are the typical individuals who you will see dying daily. Various nonprofits, according to Elisha Dacey, are in a panic and rush to be able to cope and deal with the deaths associated with opioid overdoses sourced in substances laced with fentanyl.
The homeless in Winnipeg are the main subjects of death. They need housing. Local advocates for the homeless say this. But they aren’t getting it. So, the homeless are the ones dying daily, as per usual.
Various business owners in West Broadway are frustrated about a homeless camp that sprung up in Winnipeg. The business owners see this area of Winnipeg as profitable, and the homeless as a nuisance to the potential for profit because it is a lucrative area for the business owners.
There can be bike thefts and petty crime in the area. This has been a concern for the Winnipeg Police Service as well as the mayor of Winnipeg too. Many have been saying that the drug use and abuse issues have been getting worse over time.
When it comes to looking for housing solutions for the homeless population, there is tremendous resistance to it. Much of the discussion is looking for ways to have the various public and private businesses and organizations come together within the communities of Manitoba, in particular, to be able to solve the increasing problem of homelessness as well as overdoses associated highly with the homeless population.
In Canada as a whole, a large portion of the homeless population is also indigenous. This is also a major concern. In fact, for me, it is a tremendous concern. Not only in the presence of historical crimes, but also in immediate experience and sympathy for the broken communities and hearts now.
As noted by others, this is the time of reconciliation, so most hope. Indigenous youth who take drugs in British Columbia, for example, will be 13 times more likely to die than any other same age group.
This means both women and men are at a much higher risk of death due to overdose and drug use than every other population, the non-aboriginal population. Many are trying to break the cycle.
But it is a hard struggle. Not only because of their ongoing deaths, but also the ease of access to drugs can be an issue too. Many want to get over the abuse and trauma from the past. However, many do not have appropriate public services.

References

Bellrichard, C. (2012, November 6). Indigenous youth who use drugs in B.C. dying at an alarming rate, study finds. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/indigenous-youth-drugs-death-1.4388450.
Dacey, E. (2017, November 12). ‘Survival economy’: Winnipeg’s homeless struggling amid opioid crisis, lack of housing, say advocates. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/homeless-winnipeg-opioid-survival-support-1.4392958.
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