‘I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t go respond’: Vancouver tenants take lead in overdose prevention

published on February 28, 2020 in CBC News

Jeremy Bell goes door-knocking in a decrepit hotel on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

If a tenant answers his knock, he offers food, the anti-overdose drug naloxone, and a harm reduction kit.

He strikes up conversations, encouraging tenants to take naloxone training. Those living in these impoverished downtown hotels — many of them drug users themselves — will then be able to administer the life-saving drug to people overdosing.

“There’s a lot of very private people in Vancouver that — you know — you knock on their door enough times offering doughnuts and eventually they come out,” he said.

Bell is a Tenant Overdose Response Organizer (TORO) on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. It’s a groundbreaking harm-reduction program that recruits residents of Vancouver’s single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels as educators and first-responders to overdoses…

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