Category Archives: Harm Reduction

all in

this is a cage again

All the recommendations from the task force passed -unanimously, as is, no amendments. So the safe supply statement has been adopted by council:

“….we are all in this together.

Urgent action is required on multiple levels to prevent further deaths from drug poisoning. This includes advocating for a safe supply as well as supporting people in their chosen paths to wellness. We call upon health professionals, all levels of governments, and the public to join us in advocating for a safe supply of drugs, to protect and prevent further loss of our family members, friends, neighbours and loved ones.”

its really important that its “we” and “us”. its not Those People, or The Most Vulnerable. #SafeSupply isnt a competition. and stop building ‘models’. actually meeting people where they are can be really particular, and whoever is more comfortable will probably need to step out of their comfort zone. we are in this together. everybody keep six.

[what about decrim? that is also up to us. the substance itself – its a nothing. there’s a magic moral value attached to druuuuuugs, which is a direct consequence of many political choices intended to coerce, divide, dispossess, impoverish, terrify and imprison the vast majority of humanity – all those unwealthy, unwhite, unobeying, unfamilied, and so on. very little to do with Drugs; the war on drugs is itself the weapon.

because an illicit economy is unregulated, concentrated capitalism. it is the War of All Against All. its a cautionary metaphor, the Downtown Eastside, for those stepping dangerously out of line, or those so wounded and scarred by o canada’s systemic structural violence that the World Out There cannot bear to look, and you become unhumaned. shit happens. how’d you wind up down here?

turns out living in someone else’s metaphor sucks.

now friends are stealing from friends, bro from bro. as assistance remain the same, living gets more expensive, OH NO its Gentrification (hint : we are the gentry. look around, and look at where the old dope, the plant-based stuff, was/is produced. YEAH WE’RE THE GENTRY, GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS.)

as we get poorer, the supply becomes more degraded in the sense that there’s less actual [synthetic chemical compound] opioid. so people are out, and not high. its benzos. we’re full circle back to everyone in the neighbourhood being slammed with psych meds. except they’re made in a garage somewhere and bought online. in a few decades people will get their shit and know their dope because they will be able to customize a compound of choice and it will come out of a 3-D printer, but all of us will be dead.

we are all in this together.

what we dont have is shared knowledge. we have to know our dope. “fentanyl drug checking” completely misses the point and again is a Blame the Drug reaction, magical thinking. again, its prohibition that makes the green stuff deadly but this other green is the thing. or which is horse tranquilizer, or bathtub benzos, all of it bunk. for fucks sake.

the price on the street is the same because down here people are not only poor, but trapped. and angry, because people cant get high. because its not dope. all you know is that you’re trapped. the idea was Rat Park, but it’s clearly a cage again. and everybody knows it.

safe supply means a chance to put the brakes on this cycle (The Deathspiral, is what i call it). of course there will be druuuuugs on the street. but we have this moment – probably a brief moment – to decriminalize ourselves, to self-regulate our economy. we must decommodify dope. no one will do this for us. we cannot Demand it of anyone but ourselves.

for years we’ve all heard “this is how it is down here.”

that is not true. that is a choice. and this choice is ours now.

it does not have to be this way. not at all.

Georgia Pharmacy

777 West Georgia Street Vancouver (1933)

image of window display from Vancouver Archives.

FEW LAYMAN know the meaning of “B.P.” on the label of a medicinal product. Yet it’s no secret. It stamps that product as conforming to the standards of quality specified in the “British Pharmacopoeia”

This book of standards for the protection of the public has been maintained since 1864 by physicians and pharmacists. Hence the standards of the “B.P.” have come to represent the law of the land.

It is a remarkable tribute to the great work that physicians and pharmacists have carried on for over three score years – a work designed to make available to the public medicinal products of standard uniform quality.

THE PHARMACIST must not only know well the standards of the “B.P.” but he must be skilled in the compounding and care of the hundreds of medicinal products he handles. Your Doctor relies on him when sickness comes. He is trained in College and by experience to be accurate, and to judge and appreciate high quality. His professional services and the sacrifices he is often called upon to make in the public welfare entitle him to a large measure of the good will of the community he serves.


⇣ this is how to do things with the past

it doesnt have to be this way

it is really easy to forget or not constantly remember that there is nothing inevitable or natural about the ways we all live now, in the present. it doesnt have to be this way.

LETS GET BUNKED

got benzoed?

That down? Its a point of processed synthetic chemicals, designed not for you (not anymore, not this) but for maximum profit. you have no idea what it is.

capture of “darkweb” sale board

so you come out of it and not know where you are or how you got there and already feel sick again. Thats the benzo. Its not an opiate. but you were down for hours and you cant even move or remember anything

so now everybody is paying more and more for less actual down, plus that level of psychiatric medication, which you should get for free but instead you might die and no one has any money and no one cares anymore because everyone is chasing it all day all night

and you have no idea what it is

safe supply is knowing.


abundant harm, vancouver

It’s important to understand why emergency measures are still what are needed in terms of the overdose crisis, if the fact that four people each day are dying unnecessarily in this province, and that that number will continue to climb slowly, inexorably, up. To do so, it’s helpful to take a step back and take a look from a wider perspective. Sometimes, you need to hear about something that you know close-up and very well from someone looking from far away, with different experiences. This is @johannhari101 speaking last fall about harm reduction and the Downtown Eastside.

we are still doing #harmReduction but

>>>>>>we must expand our concept of HARM
[because clearly we did not]
[because everything became much more harmful very quickly

fatal, in fact

HARM is actually dynamic, a shapeshifter.

this is about inequality of possibility. the distance between us – in for example, the Woodwards building, emblematic of everything ever in this tiny world – on this stolen land on which we have built this city.

between the resident of the condo building and us in supportive housing – is a distance that capitalism measures in dollars, and therefore in value. it is an unfathomable distance, a gap that that can only be crossed by a miracle like celebrity, winning lottery, sports stardom

or the production and sale of synthetic narcotics.

And fentanyl is only the first.

and every day we are all a little poorer and more desperate, more harmed and capable of harm. and people have been so poor for so long.

this is Hugh Lampkin from the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users explaining the economics of fentanyl to you:

Frontline Fentanyl” is the best documentation of the 2016-17 phase of the overdose crisis.

people get desperate. plus they see this unreasonable wealth all around, and no other ways to live! they would never raise welfare. things would never change. it’s very profitable, as Hugh makes clear.

everyone is poor and just needs one break. you don’t need to be a genius to make money with this, but it’s not an income if you err by a micrograin and all your customers die. it’s as complicated and difficult to make money in an illicit market as it is to be a pharmacist. not many people are good at both, it turns out.

this is how it is down here

Downtown Eastside

and so hundreds are dead here.

this is the world that we all have created. All of Us.

it’s not about blame! but it is not a moral response to shut the cage and say “i’m sure you all know best.”

you need to read this again, by Travis Lupick, published december 10, 2016

FIVE years – TWO years, at this point this is all we know, endless crisis

so thanks everyone for stopping bothering to ask when will we find a bit of time to relax, and sort out our lives. We Need Some Damn Help. NOW because there’s no time left. We have to make a decision, you too, that we have to End this Emergency.

i mean, of course we want to live. ffs, that we have to say so, after everyone’s friends are dead.

it’s like “being in a war that no one else sees.” we should listen to this speech by Vito Russo, at the height of the AIDs crisis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0Q8p0HCQEs

and they DON’T GIVE A SHIT .

What’s happened is a moral outrage. So let’s not let it continue. because in the future (SHOULD SUCH a THING OCCUR),

they will wonder how all this could have happened in such a beautiful, rich, decent place

i see you all trying to make this about “those” people who “aren’t from Here” but come on, i can see the fear in your nonsense: these are your children, and this is You, and ffs! this is your money! i thought you cared about that!

as Harm changes, we have to change how we respond. HARM isn’t a monument frozen in time since 2003! Insite is Very Important. But that Right Turn back around the turn of the millennium was much more harmful than even we realized then, and to people in this place in particular. it was a long fight, and we won, and that matters. but afterwards it’s as if it was frozen in time: like a Museum of Acceptable Practices on the 100-block. War is over if you want it, right? and nothing changed inside, it was widely believed , as if there had been an MOU signed with the external world that everything out there would stay the same too.

There was no MOU. Donald MacPherson of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition would say that the Iron Law of Prohibition holds: that prohibited substances become increasingly potent and dangerous over time, because of prohibition.

because of poverty > and the role of the #DTES in cda, >>> the Harm changed dramatically, and users sounded the alarm, and were ignored.

this whole misery-management industry is costing everyone a lot and also, it’s appallingly corrupt and just disgusting. and we’re trapped in it. like RATS in a Cage, not a Park. 20 years ago, they wanted to build Rat Park.

but this – these conditions – has become a terrible cage.

we ARE trying.

this is the fentanyl of place

we are trying to use capital to relieve pain

(it’s not going to work. well, it will, for a while.
but it’ll f@ck you up)

with #SafeSupply we can remove the profit motive from the drug market….if we can do it there – we can do it anywhere– no bunk

we can End the War on Drugs, and on ourselves, but we have to be serious about ending this Emergency, because that must be the goal for us here.

but we can do this on the 100-Block, and we must do it now.