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Contamination of street drugs with fentanyl is killing our neighbours, family members, and friends. More than ten thousand lives have been lost since the provincial government declared this a public health emergency six years ago. This is a devastating consequence of Canada’s drug prohibition.

OneCity will deepen Vancouver’s commitment to harm reduction, work to bring a safer supply of drugs to everyone who needs it, and treat substance use as a health and social issue, not a criminal one.

 

Provide what’s necessary to save lives

While many decisions rest with higher levels of government, there is plenty Vancouver can do to keep people safe. OneCity will listen to and work with people who use drugs who know what must be done to keep them alive. We will work to give them access to drugs that won’t kill them, and supports to feel a part of their community.

  1. Expand access to harm reduction services like overdose prevention sites, safer supply of medical-grade drugs, naloxone kits that reverse an overdose, and drug testing.
  2. Expand access to detoxification centres for people who are ready to go into treatment. 
  3. Develop a non-prescription model of safer supply such as compassion clubs or co-ops to provide reliable access to medical-grade opioids and stimulants.
  4. Expand managed alcohol programs that provide a safer alternative to mouthwash, hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol.
  5. Include people who use drugs on city advisory committees and in civic engagement.
  6. Support peer-led organizations that build social connections and a sense of belonging among people who use drugs and within the broader community.
  7. Provide culturally relevant supports for young people who use drugs specific to their communities and experiences.
  8. Equip parks with phone charging stations that can save lives during a medical emergency.

Strengthen frontline responses

Vancouverites have been responding to overdoses and poisoned drugs for more than two decades. Frontline first responders, often volunteers from the community, have saved countless lives. They have experience reversing drug poisonings. We should learn from their efforts and make sure they have the resources they require.

 

  1. Establish more overdose response teams, including people with relationships and experience in the communities affected by the drug poisoning emergency.
  2. Fund the Vancouver Firefighters’ five-year growth plan as outlined in their Darkhorse report to support first responders who have stretched their resources to respond to the drug poisoning emergency.
  3. Distribute nasal spray naloxone to all city employees who interact with the community and train staff to use it.
  4. Make naloxone training and distribution a condition of licensing for single resident occupancy buildings where drug poisonings are more frequent.
  5. Resource city sanitation services to collect used needles, smoking supplies and other drug paraphernalia. 
  6. Provide sharps boxes wherever they’re needed, and make them mandatory in and outside new public facilities.

Demand action from provincial and federal governments

Vancouver cannot end the drug poisoning emergency on its own. OneCity will use our voices as municipal leaders to advocate to higher levels of government for swift and decisive action. Half measures are clearly not enough to stop thousands of our residents and neighbours dying every year.

  1. Pressure provincial and federal governments to decriminalize higher quantities of drugs to match what is common for personal use.
  2. Work with the provincial government for low-barrier, patient-centred treatment and substitution programs for replacement drugs like methadone, hydromorphone, and dexedrine.
  3. Call on the provincial government to raise income assistance rates and adjust the program to end the “cheque day effect” associated with poisoned drug deaths.
  4. Call on the provincial government to increase the availability of trauma-informed and culturally safe mental health and substance use services.
  5. Ask the federal government to expand the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act to protect all those at the scene of a drug poisoning from the threat of arrest for personal possession.
  6. Advocate for programming informed by harm reduction, sentencing that centres health outcomes, and alternatives to jail time for those charged with drug-related offenses.

Support our plan for a Vancouver where everyone belongs

OneCity believes there’s room for everyone in our city to thrive. We’ll work together across City Council, School Board and Park Board to make sure you always have a place here.