9pm Over the past few years, many of our friends, lovers, and relatives have died due to fentanyl poisoning and overdoses, two consequences of the so-called war on drugs. In the absence of appropriate government response to the staggering number of deaths due to fentanyl poisoning, the Toronto Overdose Prevention Society has taken matters into their own hands, and enacted a basic harm reduction strategy. Since August 12, 2017, a group of drug users, health care and harm reduction workers, and other community members have been operating a pop-up overdose prevention site in Moss Park.
The all volunteer crew provide space for people to use drugs in a safe environment, with access to naloxone and clean equipment. The site is open from 4pm -10pm every day. So far they have reversed 40 overdoses with naloxone, and intervened/ prevented another 80+ with oxygen and close monitoring.
In 2016 there were 865 Ontarians who died due to opioids (a 19 per cent increase from 2015). The death toll of 2017 has already almost surpassed this number. Both Kathleen Wynne and John Tory have visited the pop-up site, and while both are sympathetic, neither have taken the steps needed to fund and expand this essential service.
Portugal decriminalized drugs in 2001, and since then overdoses have drastically reduced. While the Trudeau government still treats drug use as a criminal issue, even a recent Globe & Mail editorial called for drug use to be considered a public health issue. We call for the full decriminalization of all drugs.
On Wednesday November 22nd, come listen to music. We urge you to contact John Tory, Kathleen Wynne, Justin Trudeau, and your local city councillor, MPP, and MP to tell them you support the pop-up site and other harm reduction measures. And End the Drug war, already.