Substance Use News January 2020


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.


University of Toronto researchers identify four types of opioid stigma contributing to the current crisis

Researchers from the University of Toronto have identified four types of opioid-related stigma that depend on a variety of factors, including the context of opioid use, the social identity and networks of the person who is consuming the opioid, and what type of opioid is being consumed, including prescribed opioids.


Biometric opioid dispensing machine first of its kind to address demand for safer drug supply

Derick Walker is the first patient to use MySafe, an ATM-like machine that dispenses the opioid medication hydromorphone. Located next to a supervised drug-use site in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the machine is one physician’s response to the growing calls for a safer supply of drugs.


Dudes Club: A model for men’s healthcare from Vancouver’s DTES

Podcast episode from White Coat Black Art. Dr. Brian Go chats with members of the DUDES Club, which provides a meeting place for men to connect with each other, their communities, and the healthcare system.


Neurological Injury Following Overdose

In response to the concerns raised by stakeholders about the unmeasured burden of neurological injury related to overdose and the impacts on individuals, families and communities, a review and preliminary descriptive assessment was conducted by the BC Provincial Overdose Cohort team.


Caught in a crisis

The surge of crystal meth use, and the disruptive symptoms that come with it, may be leading Canada into a drug emergency on top of the existing opioid crisis.


Paths of Recovery Differ (and Why it’s Necessary to Accept and Support This Truth)

No one seeking recovery should have to hear that they ‘just aren’t willing to do the work of this program’ or ‘haven’t worked a thorough whatever step’ when they opt to take another program for a spin. That’s how I rolled in my addiction-try it all, get the medicine just right. I tried damn near every drug on the planet, why in the hell should I settle for one set of tools in recovery?


How the Opioid Crisis Is Hammering BC’s North

Some Quesnel residents hardly recognize their town, which like others is grappling with spikes in drug use and crime. The public and media focus has been on Vancouver. But Northern Health and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority had almost the same rate of illicit drug deaths in the first 10 months of 2019, according to the BC Coroners Service.


Ontario city struggles as opioid crisis marches on

Four men all died of drug overdoses on a grey Friday this month in Brantford, Ontario. It is the most overdose deaths the city has had in one day, the equivalent – when compared to the size of its population – to 120 deaths in one day in Toronto.


Mark the barber and the toll of drug overdoses

The majority of fatal overdoses occur in a private residence like an apartment or house, 57 per cent in 2019. Of course, both men and woman are affected, but men die at much greater rates. Particularly those aged 30 to 59. “Mark” fit into that group. He cut hair at a downtown barbershop.


‘You don’t expect to bury your child’: The parents left behind in Thunder Bay’s opioid crisis

Ken Bailey doesn’t see his son’s death as an accident. For him, Mark’s overdose — from cocaine laced with fentanyl — was a murder. “It’s like me having a beer here and you put arsenic in it and I drink it and die. Is that an accident? That’s murder as far as I’m concerned,” he told The Current’s host Matt Galloway.


Tainted drugs are fuelling Thunder Bay’s opioid deaths, say advocates. They want a safe supply to fight it

Inside the only supervised injection site in Thunder Bay, Ont., nurse practitioner Josh Fraser has reversed so many opioid overdoses that he says the lives saved are “too many to count.” “It’s not about trying to stop it,” Fraser said of drug use in the northwestern Ontario city. “I think it’s about providing a safe place and meeting people where they’re at.”


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





Focus image by Andrew, Flickr (Creative Commons)