Substance Use News: February 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.


Nearly three people a day died in BC from illicit drugs in 2019
As British Columbia approaches the four-year anniversary of the public health emergency related to illicit drug overdoses, the BC Coroners Service and partners are renewing calls for improved access to a regulated, safer drug supply in the province. The BC Coroners Service reports there were 981 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths in 2019. This represents an average of 2.7 deaths per day and will likely increase as investigations conclude.


Five ideas to improve drug user health in Canada
Hepatitis C prevention, testing and treatment exists within the larger context of drug user health. This broader approach to hepatitis C must address the intersections of harm reduction, overdose prevention, the social determinants of health, and human rights. How can we better integrate these multiple perspectives to our work?


Love in a State Of Emergency
Episode 12 of Crackdown podcast: You can’t understand Canada’s overdose crisis without knowing the truth about this country –  and that’s the story of colonization: a centuries-long effort to steal land and erase Indigenous peoples.


A look inside Saskatchewan’s first-ever supervised injection site
AIDS Saskatoon is transitioning into a new space while preparing to open the drug injection site.


Sault Ste Marie Council gets look at mental health and addictions proposal to province
Education, medicine and Indigenous teachings, are being integrated to develop a Sault Ste. Marie long-term plan to deal with the mental health and addictions crisis that has impacted communities locally, provincially and nationally.


How Edmonton’s drug court program changed the lives of two former drug users
Two participants of Edmonton’s Drug Treatment Court Service say the program not only saved them from self-sabotage, it rescued them from years in prison and allowed them to heal.


Why small changes to the language around addiction are so enormously important
The word “addict” itself is not bad, but used in specific contexts, it can be quite hurtful. I find the prolific use of the word addict in the media to be quite disheartening, as it normalizes harmful language.


Prescription opioid project aims to minimize overdose deaths
A pilot project  in Kamloops will support people with opioid dependency. They will be able to access clean, prescription Dilaudid pills, similar to a program that launched in 2019 in Vancouver.



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





Focus image by Andrew, Flickr (Creative Commons)