More than 10,000 people have died from overdoses in B.C. since the toxic drug crisis was declared in 2016.
On International Overdose Awareness Day, marked every Aug. 31, communities such as ours are encouraged to honour and remember without stigma the lives of those who have died from drugs and acknowledge the grief of family and friends left behind.
In Williams Lake the community action team is planning an event in Boitanio Park on Wednesday, Aug. 31, from 10:30 to 3 p.m.
Laurel White, community action team lead, said some people will share lived experiences, there will be different agencies providing information, there will be food trucks, food from local restaurants and videos about substance use.
“It’s the event we wanted to have last year, but COVID totally kiboshed that plan.”
White said they will be providing free meals to people in need.
Hip-hop artists Bioson and Cass City, both from Williams Lake, Rich N Beka of the Tsilhqot’in Nation and Lady Knox from Victoria will perform on the outdoor stage in the park.
White is also the harm reduction coordinator at BGC Club Williams Lake and said there continues to be lots of overdoses in our community.
Some of the drugs are very, very toxic and it is difficult to reverse overdoses, especially if the drugs contain benzodiazepines for which Naloxone does not work.
White is passionate about calling for change so that more people do not die from overdoses.
She would like to see easier access to treatment and more harm reduction services for people struggling with substance use.
“It’s not just people who show that their using substances that are using them,” she said. “There are so many people who work at jobs full-time who use drugs to manage pain and may not know what services are available.”
In our community the are people struggling with drugs and dedicated professionals who are trying to help.
Let’s show our support by stopping by Wednesday at the event to listen and learn.
-Williams Lake Tribune