A call from the Vancouver Emergency Task Force

A call from the Vancouver Emergency Task Force

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

The emergency task force, comprised of 115 members, from Vancouver has made a call based on the ongoing high number, unusually so, of overdoses within the province. The current estimates for the period of January to September of 2018 is a total of 1,143 British Columbians deceased due to “illicit drug overdoses in the province.

These numbers a staggering, troubling, and tragic. No question about it. The questions following from this, in terms of not repeating the mistakes, are what we’re going to do about this in order to not repeat our collective mistakes of the past, where these mistakes costs the real lives and family members and friends around the province. This shouldn’t be happening, or least at this rate.

That is to say, we can reduce the extent and rate of the deaths within the province. The emergency task force for British Columbia stated that there should be, via a call, an increase in the levels of harm reduction provisions throughout the country.

One vulnerable area with few provisions, and especially given the high risk demographics associated with  post-secondary institutions, would bee the colleges, polytechnics, and research universities within the province.

Something as simple as Naloxone kits on campus can be helpful in the fight for greater levels of lifesaving happening within the province. Of course, these do not amount to cure-alls, nor do any of the other proposed “solutions,” which are, in fact, alleviatory measures for the improve health and wellness of misusers within the province, and, indeed, around the nation.

Throughout the city, an increase in the provisions would be helpful including a second harm reduction site for substance users who can smoke under supervision in addition to having a “mobile option to reach those outside of the Downtown Eastside.”

These are cheap, effective, and reasonable harm reduction methodological implementations with the real possibility for the improved wellbeing outcomes of the individual users and the family and friends who could, potentially as with the other 1,143 others, lose loved ones and confidantes.

As reported, the Globe and Mail stated, “The task force is also recommending an 18-month pilot project that would see overdose prevention sites in at least five private single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels, an expansion of these services in non-profit SROs and a review of overdose risk in both public and private SRO bathrooms.”

Knnedy Stewart, the Mayor of Vancouver, remarked on the fifth year of the overdose crisis with “no sign of slowing down” and, reflecting on the realism of harm reduction noted before, talked about the measures not solving the problem but reducing its severity.

The BC Coroners Service compiled data and then this formulated the basis for the recommendations, in part, and a review of about 900 illicit overdose case investigations discovered 39% were from smoking substance; hence, the safe and supervised smoking can be an important and on point harm reduction in practice measure.

In addition, 86% of the illicit drug overdose deaths happened while inside and in private residences, shelters, and SROs, partly or even significantly related to the stigma associated with substance of drug use and misuse.

There is only one place for supervised smoking at the moment. The Executive Director of the Overdose Prevention Society, Sarah Blyth, moved the operations of the society inside, subsequently similar sites opened around Vancouver.

Ms. Blyth explained, “The overdoses with smoking happen immediately … people just drop… So creating places where people can do all kinds of drugs is important.” The safety and wellbeing of British Columbians is at risk around the province without further and extensive implementation of harm reduction.

Indeed, Vancouver Coastal Health is funding 27 non-profit SROs and the emergency task force suggests or recommends funding 10 more. It’s that severe and should be taken that seriously.

This would require $1 million per annum from the province, which is, probably, minute in comparison to the amount of potential lives lost in the midst of the overdose crisis.

“Another recommendation is to prioritize securing a space for a pilot project led by the BC Centre of Disease Control that would distribute the opioid hydromorphone to people who are at high risk of overdose from illicit opioids,” The Globe and Mail also reports, “Providing a clean supply would be a direct and immediate answer to the fentanyl-contaminated illicit supply that has devastated communities across North America.”

There are many, many other recommendations including low-barrier and quickly accessible opioid agonist therapies in order to protect citizens from dying who may misuse substance.

Overall, the task force aligns with the work of CSSDP here with the inclusion of harm reduction philosophy and methodology as fundamental to tackling the serious public health issue of overdoses.

References

Woo, A. (2018, December 18). Vancouver overdose emergency task force calls for expanded harm reduction, safe supply. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-vancouver-overdose-emergency-task-force-calls-for-expanded-harm/.

Photo by Aditya Chinchure on Unsplash

Belleville and the Crisis, and Harm Reduction

Belleville and the Crisis, and Harm Reduction

There is continual news about the negative impacts of the opioid crisis on individual lives, and on families, communities, and society, even using the simple metric of the numbers of dead counted each day or the thousands per annum in Canada.

One small community with sixth highest hospitalization rate for opioid poisoning is Belleville. The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) looked into data from 2013 to 2018, and found those results.

Opioid-Related Harms in Canada was the report published, recently.

The Hastings and Prince Edward County Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Piotr Oglaza, stated, “It is a terrifying statistic to see that our community ranks so high… That truly reinforces that we have a lot of work to do.

The report noted that smaller Canadian communities are more likely to experience the higher levels of hospitalization than the others. In Ontario, the average rate of significant opioid poisoning hospitalizations was 14.8 per 100,00 but, in Bellville, it was 44.5 in 2017.

With the communities having populations between 50,000 and 99,999, the rates were 2 ½ times as many as the largest cities within the nation, e.g. Vancouver had 20.4 and Toronto had 8.9.

The article reported, “The details were released on the same day the Public Health Agency of Canada announced opioids were a factor in more than 2,000 deaths in the first half of this 18. More than 9,000 people died of opioid-related causes between January 2016 and June 2018, agency staff said.”

But apart from deaths and significant opioid hospitalizations, the other ill-effects of the crises are numerous and should be taken into account in the back of one’s mind when viewing the these and other statistics – speaking to tragedies – in the news.

Full report: tinyurl.com/cihi2018

References

Hendry, L. (2018, December 12). Belleville sixth for opioid poisoning hospitalizations in Canada. Retrieved from https://www.intelligencer.ca/news/local-news/belleville-sixth-for-opioid-poisoning-hospitalizations-in-canada.

Photo by Ricardo Soria on Unsplash

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Harm Reduction and the North Bay

Harm Reduction and the North Bay

The basic import and evidence behind harm reduction methodology is simply undeniable. But there are invested interests in ignorance about the nature of the best ways in which, or better ways in which, to deal with the various crises facing us, exacerbated by the punitive approaches to drugs and substances.

Needle exchanges and education are part and parcel of harm reduction. In the North Bay, there are more community spaces being proposed alongside some of the aforementioned measures, which can help members of the community and, thus, the health of the community.

One of the HIV education/MSM outreach coordinators for the AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area, Kathleen Jodouin, made certain to direct attention to the methodologies associated with harm reduction.

Jodouin stated, “There has been frequent talk in the community – across social media and news outlets – about improperly disposed of needles that are found in the community.”

One of the issues are the hours of operation. They be closed for substantial times in a 24-hour period in in a 7-day timespan. Other places including Kirkland Lake, New Liskeard, Sudbury, and Timmins accepted and implemented the proposals for safe disposal bins.

These are minimal and cheap measures to improve the health of communities.

“We think this could be an excellent resource for our community, to allow folks to have a safer place to dispose of them, which – of course – reduces transmission risk and the presence of improperly disposed of needles,” Jodouin explained, “but also helps to affirm that we are recognizing a need in the community for better services for those who are actively using.”

As the crises affecting communities throughout the country continue to become worse and worse, and more and more communities are affected, and to a substantially worse degree, there will be more events thematically oriented on it.

If we look at Harm Reduction Saves Lives, a 2-day symposium, Jodouin was part of it. In it, the emphasis was on “more education and emphasis on harm reduction as a solution.”

Jodouin stated the need for more inclusive for all members of the community, especially those who may be active users of substance. They aren’t from Mars. They’re other human beings deserving of compassion, dignity, and respect.

There is a lot of fear-based rhetoric, of which the least among out societies bear the brunt. In early 2018, Muskoka chairs put in the downtown were removed from outside the Canadian Mental Health Association. Why? Presumably, the stigma surrounding them.

Jodouin stated, “We find this quite disappointing, if not harmful, because it makes assumptions about the people who are accessing those services. It stigmatizes people who are brave enough to reach out into our community and ask for help and then it creates an isolation that these people are not welcome in the downtown core.”

References

Young, G. (2018, November 28). Harm reduction favoured as best treatment for drug problem. Retrieved from https://www.nugget.ca/news/local-news/harm-reduction-favoured-as-best-treatment-for-drug-problem.

Photo by Etienne Delorieux on Unsplash

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Saskatoon Tribal Council and Harm Reduction Services

Saskatoon Tribal Council and Harm Reduction Services

According to Global News, there is a several year agreement for funding with the Saskatoon Tribal Council, or the STC, in order to improve the services for the Indigenous peoples “in and around the city.

The reportage stated, “Provincial government officials said Monday the these programs provide education, supplies, and supports to people who use drugs, reducing the spread of blood-borne infections, and other health-related harms.”

These remain significant and, potentially, growing problems throughout the country. The introduction of improved harm reduction measures will, as per the robust empirical and peer-reviewed evidence, make the health and wellness outcomes of the nation better in these areas as well.

The STC will also hire casual staff for needle exchanges, 2 outreach workers, one immunization/administrative co-ordinator, and 1 health centre director.

The STC Chief, Mark Arcand, stated, “We look forward to ensuring preventative harm reduction measures that are delivered in a culturally safe and respectful manner… We and our partners agree that a collaborative approach is necessary if we are to reduce the rates of HIV and hepatitis C in Saskatchewan. Together we can and will affect real change which enriches people’s quality of life.”

In addition to this, the Minister of Indigenous Servces, Jane Philpott, noted 30 First Nations communities now provide various harm reduction services. This is particularly heartwarming and important as most of the ill-health impacts of the country disproportionately negatively impact the Indigenous communities and peoples throughout the nation.

Philpott, in a press release, stated, “We know that First Nations-led and delivered programming and services can have the biggest impact on improving health outcomes for Indigenous peoples… This new funding agreement will allow for expanded access to more First Nations people in Saskatoon and surrounding communities, and will support a full range of harm reduction and HIV/AIDS care services.”

Now, the Indigenous Services Canada will give $0.825 million from October, 2018 to April, 2024; same with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health. Then the STC will contiute $50,000 for 2018/19 and $100,000 per annum until March, 2024.

Indigenous Services Canada and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health will each contribute $825,000 between October 2018 and April 2024 to STC’s program, plus an additional $180,000 this fiscal year for STC. STC will provide in-kind contributions of $50,000 for 2018-19 and $100,000 annually to March 2024.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is also providing $180,000 this fiscal year toward STC’s program.

References

Piller, T. (2018, December 3). Saskatoon Tribal Council improving harm reduction services. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/4723106/saskatoon-tribal-council-improving-harm-reduction-services/.

Photo by karl S on Unsplash

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-Large/Writer

(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.