International Overdose Awareness Day 2018 will see Vancouver call for steps beyond harm reduction

published on August 21, 2018 by Travis Lupick in The Straight

The event scheduled for August 31 is one of a series around the world in response to an epidemic of drug-overdose deaths that is increasingly global

Five years into an epidemic of drug-overdose deaths that shows no sign of abating, Tabitha Montgomery concedes that advocates like her are frustrated.

“But this frustration only makes people more tenacious, more creative,” she told the Straight. “With that frustration, I’m not going anywhere.”

Next Friday (August 31), Montgomery and other advocates for drug-policy reform will meet on the south side of the Vancouver Art Gallery to join people around the world in demonstrations for International Overdose Awareness Day.

“There will be a candle lighting ceremony, a moment of silence. Purple Flowers. Silver Balloons.

Personal Photos of loved ones, mourned,” reads a media release for the event.” All walks of life…are welcomed to attend.”

In a telephone interview, Montgomery, who lost her father and a best friend to drug addictions, noted that previous rallies have largely served as calls for an expansion of harm-reduction measures such as supervised-injection sites. She said that this year’s event will focus more on treatment and prevention.

“Harm reduction is wonderful,” explained Montgomery, who’s facilitating the event. “It keeps people alive. But we need to keep moving forward, to accessible, dignified, and regulated detox, treatment, and long-term housing. So people don’t end up back at square one.”

View the full article