“This is the drug war covered by drug users”: New podcast documents the overdose crisis in real time

published on January 30, 2019

Vancouver – Coast Salish TerritoryCrackdown is a new, monthly podcast about drugs, drug policy, and the drug war – produced by people who use drugs.

The overdose crisis is an ongoing and unprecedented public health emergency. Each episode will tell the story of a community fighting for their lives, and point to a way out of this crisis.

Garth Mullins, Crackdown’s host, executive producer, and podcast co-creator, is an award-winning documentarian and an opioid user.

“This is the drug war covered by drug users,” says Mullins. “We are war correspondents and these are the stories you won’t hear in traditional media, so we have to tell them ourselves. This is activism, informed by experience and driven by evidence.”

Mullins is working with an editorial board comprised of Vancouver’s most experienced drug user activists, including Laura Shaver. Shaver has been a leading force at the B.C. Association of People on Methadone for a decade and has personally reversed over 60 overdoses.

“The public needs to hear from us,” says Shaver. “People like Justin Trudeau needs to hear from us. We are trying to bring to light the things that could end this crisis. We are working our asses off.”

Crackdown spotlights the voices of people who use drugs, grounding the lived experiences of the crisis in the latest evidence on what is fueling the overdose deaths and what measures could stop the epidemic. It’s produced in partnership with Cited Media Productions and the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU), whose research will provide context for the stories told in each episode.

Crackdown harnesses research to amplify community voices and document the overdose crisis,” says Ryan McNeil, podcast co-creator and a research scientist with BCCSU’s Qualitative & Community-based Research Program. “This podcast is an extension of our approach to research, mobilizing knowledge in partnership with the community to bring forward solutions to end this health crisis and bring justice to those whose lives have been lost.”

“War Correspondents,” the first episode of Crackdown, will be released on January 30.


Media contacts:

Garth Mullins
Host, Executive Producer
(604) 831-6967
[email protected]

Laura Shaver
Crackdown Editorial Board. Secretary of B.C. Association of People on Methadone
(778) 939-7192
[email protected]

Kevin Hollett
B.C. Centre on Substance Use
(778) 918-1537
[email protected]