Category Archives: vs harm

Real Emergencies

Remember that fuss about the report that was released at the end of April 2019 by Dr Bonnie Henry, BC’s Provincial Health Officer: “Stopping the Harm: decriminalizing people who use drugs”? Apparently not really.

As I tried to say on the radio it’s not about decriminalizing substances-  it’s about decriminalizing people. Dr Henry got it exactly.

courtesy CBC On the Coast, April 24 2019

That means ending the ongoing exclusion of people who use drugs – but mostly low-income, racialized, mentally divergent people who use drugs – from the legal and civil norms conventional in mainstream society. It’s not  about whether or not you’re charged with possession or trafficking or whatever.

It’s about the process of becoming criminal and how people who use drugs think of themselves as being outside of the the law : it punishes us, it does not protect us. But this report asserts that the law belongs to us too because we are also citizens and that’s the point of decriminalizing people.

we have to stop the harm, because reducing all this is clearly not good enough

ODAX18 (BCCDC)

now this is a public health intervention

What the report says is that policing and ongoing criminalization is preventing people from accessing health services, from accessing all kinds of Public Services, keeping us in poverty, making people vulnerable to overdose and endangering lives. Criminalization is undermining all of the health related activities that have been authorized through the initial intervention back in December 2016.

And it’s not just another report by experts that goes into the air and things may be happening or maybe not. The report and its author, the Provincial Health Officer is authorized and empowered through the Public health act and this report has a particular force because of this state of emergency. It is not just another report.

As the Provincial Health Officer of BC,
I recommend that the Province of BC
urgently move to decriminalize people who possess controlled substances for personal use. This is a fundamental underpinning and necessary next step for the continued provincial response to the overdose crisis in BC.

“Stopping the Harm” is addressed to the government of British Columbia, from a senior officer appointed by government to the people’s elected representatives. This is a high-level intervention, not to an individual minister but to the executive of the government of the province, to the premier and the cabinet, and four ministers.

Consider the precedent. let’s go back and think about the last time we were at day 1114 of a public health emergency oh wait.

This is how to deal with an emergency. This is the most extreme intervention that provincial law allows. It has never been done before.

We need the government to consider these recommendations. It will be painful. This is a terrible situation to face directly. We can help them by being honest and brave, but they must do the same. We gotta talk, and this recommendation must be considered by the people elected to do so.

Silence is death. The legislature, the cabinet table – these are the places where this discussion must happen now. Let’s all take it seriously — as seriously as we possibly can, and in the terms suggested by this report (among others): as a political issue. 

Appropriate Futures

hey everybody remember that whole thing with the Balmoral and the Regent

remember that thing with the expropriation

last year 

the expropriation

remember the expropriation of the hotels

before the buildings were SRO hotels

they were hotels

it wasnt that long ago, from a historical perspective.

but their function slowly slowly completely changed 

not imperceptively 

you might notice slow historical change

if you looked close   or from an angle

people dont want to notice, because that would make it real

not like now

(historical change is all up in your face)

anyway those days are over and that is the past now if it seemed and felt normal

normal is done.

we’re not going back to ‘normal’

also, normal sucked.

this is a fast emergency and fast fast change and nobody knows the future.

one more thing.

this is a really small thing that apparently needs to be said.

we’re not going to have mass tourism, cruise ships, events, big festivals and so on

for a really long time. historical-type time.

all that is over. 

yes i am a historian actually.

becoming social housing IS your bailout 

and lifeboat

take it

#COVID19BC 

did you know ‘hotel’ and ‘hospital’ are derived from the same word

and there will be 1-3% of visitors as in the beforetimes and why would they i mean who takes the risk of boarding a plane to look at a pile of corpses and the monuments the survivors built for themselves and then sold to a corporate investor for a 3.4% profit on spec #vanre 

#flip

Re Alignment

A few weeks into a new system to access a safe supply of drugs there’s a few points I’ve noticed again and again – to summarize briefly, i hear it’s not perfect! Well no. It’s pandemic access. It’s Emergency Dope.

Well, They have to do better, more, different, etc. But you know They will never get it right. They can’t, because these programs – the clinical programs – are for them, not us. They have to do this or that – but who are you talking about, exactly?

Safe Supply for all is *our* responsibility. as users. And who will do it, in a good way, other than us? Access for all means creating many options. Nothing will work for everyone, except having choices. There are many possibilities, from clinical to legalized retail.

We can do it all, and more. It’s. not. a. competition. It’s a challenge to completely change the illicit economy into one that doesn’t kill people. There isn’t much time.

And it’s up to us. not Them.

Because if we don’t, no one will

Safer For Everyone

you’d think, as we drift into the Age of the Virus, that doctors would be out the street, prescribing what was needed, because they’re doctors. their general unwillingness to step up at this point, when all the regulatory barriers have been overcome, is fucking disgusting. the contrast between the health professionals everywhere being brave and putting themselves at risk to treat people ill from COVID-19, or speaking out against repressive governments lying about the situation, and the doctorly response to the overdose thing is striking. most of the doctors and academics have better jobs now than they did in 2016. that’s a fact that needs to be more widely known and make you angrier.
why would they risk their power? for you? as if.

thousands have died already. who cares if more drug users die? nobody, that’s who.

this is not about you at all. this is a pandemic. its everybody.

to take care of each other, we need to stay home, as Dr Henry, Dr Tam, the Health Minister, the Prime Minister suggest, direct, order. it’s public health: stay home.

to do that, you need food, you need medicine, you need a home, and we need each other. in fact more than ever.

so stop demanding action from them, and stand up for each other.

no, its not perfect, and who cares, because guess what else is not perfect, and we’re out of time. so while a prescription for dillys (for example) won’t necessarily “save” anybody directly, but in this new horrible world we’re in, think about how many lives will be spared.

go to the clinic and see a doctor, call them, go to Connections Clinic, go to St Pauls, go to Vancouver Native Health Society, go to Downtown Community Health Centre, Pender Community Health Centre, go to REACH Community Health Centre. ask for prescription for your drug of choice (or nearest equivalent) BECAUSE YOU WANT TO STAY HOME TO KEEP OTHERS SAFE. BECAUSE ITS PUBLIC HEALTH.

first, without that script, the chances are very high that you’ll become quite ill with this quite lethal illness, because if you use, you’ll go out to get, transmitting the virus, again and again. a doctor who refuses to prescribe, now, in their last meaningful chance to serve humanity, is a mass murderer, prolonging and abetting this plague.

and knows it.