DTES advocates say police near overdose prevention sites deter people from accessing care

published on January 12, 2023 by Isabella Zavarise in CTV News Vancouver

Advocates for people who use drugs say the police presence near overdose prevention sites on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is deterring people from accessing life-saving care due to the lack of trust between law enforcement and the community.

BeeLee Lee, the vice president of the Coalition of Peers Dismantling the Drug War has recorded numerous videos of police parked outside overdose prevention sites, which she said could worsen the current overdose crisis.

“It could cause somebody to go and use in an unsafe way and it could cause a fatal overdose,” Lee said.

Lee’s cause for concern is supported by a 2019 study called “Policing space in the overdose crisis: A rapid ethnographic study of the impact of law enforcement practices on the effectiveness of overdose prevention sites.”…

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