CSUN hosting event in Quesnel for National Day of Action on the Overdose Crisis

“We all need to raise our voices,” says Coalition of Substance Users of the North

The Coalition of Substance Users of the North (CSUN) will be hosting an event for the National Day of Action on the Overdose Crisis in Quesnel on Tuesday, April 16.

April marks the three-year anniversary of the Public Health Emergency, which was declared due to the rising numbers of overdose deaths across the province.

On April 16, CSUN members will stand in unity with other drug user organizations and invested participants across Canada.

It has been three years since the Public Health Emergency was declared in B.C., yet the government still stalls in implementing evidence-based solutions. Eleven people are dying every day across Canada of opioid overdose, an entirely preventable cause of death. Last year, the number of overdose deaths increased in the Northern Health Region; many of those individuals were loved friends and family members from Quesnel. CSUN is demanding change.

CSUN is adding its voice in support of the demands being made by the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs (CAPUD) to the federal government. They are standing in solidarity and demanding that the federal government finally declare a National Emergency across Canada, which will cut red tape to overdose prevention and harm reduction services. They are demanding an end to the criminalization of drugs and the criminalization of people who use drugs, as well as dignified access to a safe supply of drugs so that no more people die from preventable deaths.

CSUN and other drug user organizations are demanding that a safe supply be added as one of Canada’s drug policy “pillars,” like harm reduction and treatment are. They are also demanding removal of the “public consultation” requirement for supervised consumption site approval, thus removing barriers that are often fuelled by public perception rooted in stigma and discrimination.

To learn more about safe supply, please visit http://capud.ca/safesupply.

Please join CSUN, local service providers and community members on April 16. The event will be held at the end of the walking bridge along Front Street and will begin at 11 a.m. CSUN will be providing education and information, Naloxone training, refreshments and snacks.

We all need to raise our voices and call on the government to take action. This is an issue that affects everybody.

We are all at risk.

Federal demands

1. Declare a national emergency

2. Decriminalize Us: decriminalize people who use drugs by decriminalizing drug possession

3. Make a safe supply of opioid and stimulant drugs available across Canada, Section 56 exemptions for supervised consumption and co-op model (canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/substance-use/supervised-consumption-sites/guidance-document.html)

4. Enshrine safe supply as a pillar of federal drug policy

5. Remove community consultation as a requirement for supervised consumption services

Provincial demands

1. Expand access to injectable heroin, injectable hydromorphone and oral hydromorphone by 2,000 spots across British Columbia

2. Develop a human rights-based drug policy, based on access to safe supply, no coercion into treatment and no prescription drug restrictions

3. Commitment to fund peer-run overdose prevention site

Local demands

1. Improved access to harm reduction services

2. Low-barrier overdose prevention services

3. Ensure people with lived experience are embedded in the design, delivery and development of all services

— Submitted by the Coalition of Substance Users of the North (CSUN)

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