Archangel Gabrielle: “I speak about the courage
because when one of them loses their joy or missteps
there is the acknowledgement that not only does it affect
the individual, but the collective of the tribe
is also immediately affected.
So, the tribe, the community comes together
to heal that individual and to help
restore that sense of balance, of rightness, of joy.”
Nathan Griffiths, The Vancouver Sun, October 21, 2021
Dr. Patricia Daly with Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG
The overdose crisis has killed 1,200 more British Columbians than COVID-19 has in the past two years and replacing toxic street drugs with a regulated legal supply is the “single most important thing we can do,” according to the chief medical health officer at Vancouver Coastal Health.
In a presentation to Vancouver city council on Thursday morning, Dr. Patrica Daly, said the overdose crisis killed 3,000 people in B.C. between January of 2020 and July of 2021, compared to the 1,800 who died from COVID-19 in the same period.
During that time, an average of 164 people died each month from a drug overdose in B.C.
“A non-medical model is where we think we need to get to,” Daly said of opening access to opioids, “in order to provide an alternative to contaminated drugs so we can reduce the risk of death.”
Overdose deaths jumped during the pandemic, as public health orders to limit the spread of COVID-19 led to more people using drugs alone and without the support of overdose prevention sites.
Daly said that during the pandemic, visits to overdose prevention sites fell to roughly 2,000 a week, far less than the 6,000 weekly visits they would typically support.
Currently the only legal supply of opioids is from the Crosstown Clinic operated by Providence Health Care, although the SAFER program recently received $5 million in federal funding to also provide prescription access to fentanyl and opioid alternatives.
Daly called the current, prescription-based supply inadequate, however, something she said she hears repeatedly from doctors and nurse practitioners.
“We cannot prescribe our way out of the overdose crisis,” she said.
Daly stressed the value of “compassion clubs,” where people with substance-use disorders could get a clean supply of heroin or other opioids without a prescription.
Archangel Gabrielle on Joy:
“Let me say the joy is not only outrageous but courageous and let us use the example of this small tribe of what many would think of as primitive and perhaps is one of the most advanced civilizations on your planet.
“I speak about the courage because when one of them loses their joy or missteps there is the acknowledgement that not only does it affect the individual but the collective of the tribe is also immediately affected.
“So, the tribe, the community comes together to heal that individual and to help restore that sense of balance, of rightness, of joy.”
Invoking Archangel Gabrielle
and the blessing and virtue of joy
for help with our opioid crisis.
The model would be similar to those that provide medical marijuana.
A recent report from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control suggested such clubs could save lives and disrupt drug profits from organized crime.
Vancouver city council has already backed compassion clubs in their bid to supply safer drugs, in a motion that passed with unanimous support earlierthis month.
“I am a big supporter of the compassion club model,” Daly said. “We need to dramatically expand those options.”
Deputy Chief Fiona Wilson of the Vancouver Police, told council that while the force has had a long-standing policy of approaching addiction as a health, rather than a criminal, issue, the VPD could not support the purchase of drugs from organized crime, terrorism and other criminal networks. That refers to unsanctioned compassion club purchases of drugs from the “dark web” while they fight for access to an official supply.
She said the VPD supported Providence Crosstown Clinic, however, as narcotics are sourced through government sources.
According to Daly, safe supply is critical because many people dying are not regular users or use other drugs, so more traditional opioid use treatments are “not be effective.”
Daly said researchers have found that in Vancouver alone “many, many thousands of people are at risk of death and the number has gone up significantly since the start of the pandemic.”