Fatal overdoses are down—possibly because so many B.C. drug users have already died

published on February 5, 2020 by Travis Lupick in Georgia Straight

Through 1997, Vancouver authorities met regularly in response to an unprecedented outbreak of HIV/AIDS. The virus had killed 877 people in the city of Vancouver over the preceding five years, plus another 555 across British Columbia.

A budding Downtown Eastside activist named Ann Livingston attended many of those meetings along with her boyfriend, Bud Osborn.

“Somebody was looking at the graphs of AIDS deaths,” Livingston recounts in the 2017 book Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle With Addiction.

The health official presenting the numbers turned from the charts on the wall and told the group, “If we don’t do anything, they are going to come down, because we’ll hit a saturation point.”

What the bureaucrat was suggesting, Livingston explains, is that there would soon be so many people in Vancouver killed by AIDS that there would be a smaller number at risk of catching the virus. That would translate to a smaller number of deaths…

View the full article