What do you think leads to controversy around these sites, and should they be controversial?
“The language. The ‘enabler’ language, ‘facilitating illegal activity,’ ‘harm production’ instead of ‘harm reduction.’ There’s a sort of self-righteous posturing behind the idea that everyone should be a contributing member of society, have a job, pay their rent or mortgage. This fails to recognize the limits of our cultural organization. There are people here who will never fit into that mold because of mental illness, mental capacity, or trauma. We need to acknowledge that harm reduction is an important care model, and we need to protect it.
I’ve been living and working in this neighborhood for a long time. So, in some ways, I don’t have an effective barometer for controversy. On the other hand, I have a really effective barometer for suffering and needless tragedy. We can respond to this, but the primary barrier is drug policy and access to a clean and safe supply. Let’s say that the decriminalization model is trustworthy: instead of a lethal drug supply, one can access a managed, prescribed supply. Let’s say that access to care increases, and the associated stigma, violence, and crime decreases. Then maybe it’s not that bad to have in my neighborhood, right?
Vancouver has been a global leader in the response to the HIV/AIDS crisis and the experience of HIV/AIDS, and harm reduction. Those are two deeply compassionate experiences, and we’ve informed policy around the globe. I want people to be proud of that. It might be ugly, it might be confusing, and it might seem chaotic, but we can take care of people in profound ways. I think that’s a flag we should wave.”
Learn more on Harm reduction throughout the opioid crisis: A community responds by Jacob L. Stubbs via BCMJ. #MustRead #HarmReduction #OpioidCrisis #RonnieGrigg #OverdosePreventionSociety #PeerModelofCare