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Toxic drug crisis focus of April 12 event in Williams Lake

Community action team hosted a free barbecue in Boitanio Park

Williams Lake gathered as a community Friday, April 12 to acknowledge the ongoing toxic drug supply and overdose crisis.

“It has been eight years since the province declared a state of emergency over the drug crisis and that crisis will get worse,” said Madison Rushton of Canadian Mental Health Association Cariboo Chilcotin as she cooked hotdogs for the free barbecue in Boitanio Park.

Hosted by the Community Action Team, the event was held to show support for people who are working as first responders and provide information for the public about available services.

Scott McLaughlin is the integrated primary community care coordinator for Interior Health and was handing out buttons with “Harm Reduction …. Social Justice,” embossed on them.

His table also had some pamphlets, books and some reproduced photographs with some thought-provoking comments on them.

These are some of them:

When people refer to people like my son as a junkie or addict, it affects their family. It casts a dark, ugly shadow that can make you feel ashamed and alone. This implied shameful dirtiness is the stigma that separates people and their families from community and support services.

On a photograph depicting an outdoor drink fountain were the words, this was my kitchen sink, followed by:

Not everyone is on the street of their own accord. People end up there for so many reasons. I had nowhere to go. Most of the people on the street are just trying to survive.

BC Emergency Health Services confirmed as of Monday, April 15, paramedics have responded to nine calls for drug call for overdose poisoning events in Williams Lake in April.

Alexis Redenbach, a member of the Mobile Response Team, who is stationed in Prince George was there along with Gregory Nickel from Kamloops.

Both are crisis intervention specialists who travel to different communities to help when needed as an arm of Health Emergency Management B.C.

READ MORE: First Nation communities in Chilcotin grieve 3 fatal drug poisonings

READ MORE: Tŝilhqot’in leaders call state of local emergency after overdose deaths

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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