Substance Use News July 2019


Substance Use News provides a snapshot of news and resources for those working to support folks who use substances. We share pieces on the social, medical and political responses to the opioid crisis, from advocacy to welcome change. See our Drug Use and Overdose Response page for resources on overdose services, team resilience, governmental reports, policy recommendations, and more.


Response to the Opioid Overdose Crisis in Vancouver Coastal Health (Report)
Vancouver Coastal Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Patricial Daly, has released a new report: Response to the Opioid Overdose Crisis in Vancouver Coastal Health. It looks at harm reduction, improving treatment, and strategies for supportive environments. In the Recommendations section of the report, Daly makes the point for establishing a regulated supply of drugs. A call for decriminalization of personal possession of illegal drugs (p. 30) echoes the recommendation made at a provincial level by the report from Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer, released in April of this year.


Spike in overdoses reportedly due to opioid-sedative mix that acts like ‘date rape drug’
A new deadly cocktail has been showing up in Vancouver’s drug supply in recent weeks: fentanyl cut with benzodiazepines or benzos as they’re more commonly called. Vancouver Coastal Health first warned about benzos — drugs like Valium and Xanax which have a sedative-like effect — being found in street drugs earlier this year. Over the last few weeks, though, drug users and overdose prevention advocates have been reporting a significant uptick in benzo-contaminated drugs being sold as heroin. Powell River also saw this development, just days after they got an overdose prevention site set up.


Crackdown Podcast Episode 6: Room 821
What happens when your options are being kicked out on the street or living in a room filled with mould, trash and rats? Episode 6 of Crackdown looks at how the housing and overdose crises are intertwined, and what happens when tenants fight back.


Kids and drugs: The Vancouver teachers transforming substance use education
From scaring to caring: Recent study found BC teens tended to ‘tune out’ abstinence-only education, and were a lot more receptive when they had an honest conversation about drugs.


This revolutionary device would automatically reverse opioid overdoses
Researchers at Purdue University are developing what could be the most promising solution to opioid overdose yet. It’s a pill that’s injected under the skin. As a person enters the state of an overdose, the pill opens itself, releasing naloxone right into the blood within 10 seconds.


BC ‘cautiously optimistic’ as overdose deaths drop by 30%
Drug-related deaths for the first five months of 2019 have decreased by 30 per cent across B.C. compared to the same time last year.




Learn More

Visit our Drug Use and Overdose Response page


Questions? Feedback? Get in touch! Janet Madsen, Capacity Building  and Knowledge Translation Coordinator, [email protected]





Image: Focus by Andrew, Flickr (Creative Commons)