Category Archives: SafeSupply

prohibition and death

vancouver and forgetting

alcohol was prohibited in Vancouver during the 1918 pandemic. a lot of people died during prohibition, at the end of the war, in that pandemic

A LOT 

WAVE AFTER WAVE (Epidemic and Public Health : Influenza in Vancouver, 1918-1919 by Margaret W. Andrews)

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health services were already short staffed because many doctors and nurses had gone overseas, to serve in the war.

they couldn’t figure out how people were getting sick − it wasn’t the poor, the old, the weak − they couldn’t figure out how those who became infected were infected. they couldn’t make connections

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the majority of deaths were people between 20-39.

it was prohibition and if you wanted to drink, this was the legal route. you needed a prescription. it was rationed, and mild.

"there were long queues for prescription spirits"

it was pandemic safe supply.

otherwise you had no idea what you were drinking but people went to underground bars anyway. i know this; i was in the basement of old gachet on cordova, where there’s a tunnel to the old bar − people could enter it from down the block & around the corner. to not use alone.

to examine documents now, to be historical, is to wonder at how infrequently the pandemic is mentioned. once it was here.

"there was popular reluctance to admit that normal life was being disrupted"

it was understood very differently in in different places. and death rates tell only only a part of the tale. i wonder what it was by neighbourhood

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table from Margaret W. Andrews, Epidemic and Public Health, BC Studies 1977

if you can’t get social or physical distance, there’s always the historical option. step back, and look at us.

26.9 in 2020 for the whole province
but overdoses

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in the aftertimes people tried to forget it happened as quickly as possible and focused on recovering from the war and even called it Great and repealed prohibition and once again believed that everything was fine and nothing would ever change and the pandemic only lasted three years

and almost 800 people had died in the city, which had a population of 100 000

were they supposed to pretend that never happened? to forget that they ran out of flowers for funerals? they sure tried.

will we? did our deaths or lives ever happen?

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.

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.