On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, the BCCDC Foundation, in partnership with Science World and the BC Centre for Disease Control, hosted another public information session: this one to help the general public better understand harm reduction, including best practices and what is being done in Vancouver.

Just prior to the panel discussion, a traditional welcome was provided by Robert Williams of Culture Saves Lives. The panel itself included experts in front line care/medical workers and people with lived experience. Jonathan Deakin from BC EHS, Erica Thompson from Fraser Health, and Robert Williams (mentioned above) joined Drs Jane Buxton and Mark Tyndall of the BCCDC. Moderated by Donald MacPherson, Executive Director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, the panel discussed what harm reduction efforts have been and what they can/should be, with regards to the ongoing overdose crisis. The audience had plenty of questions for the panelists.

After the discussion, there was time for break-out discussions that allowed the conversations to continue. “Harm Reduction 101” and “What’s Next” were well attended and provided attendees an opportunity to develop a better understanding of harm reduction strategies and actions needed, and encouraged dialogue around how to change the narrative and reduce stigma.

A number of community organizations had booths onsite providing additional information about what they’re doing to include harm reduction in their programming, including offering Naloxone training to anyone present who wanted to learn. Street Saviours, OPS (Overdose Prevention Society), RainCity Housing, Karmik, Pacific Association of First Nations’ Women, TORO (Tenant Overdose Response Organizers) and Moms Stop the Harm were some of the organizations in attendance.

The Foundation is pleased to continue our ongoing relationship with Science World to assist them in their goal of being a community hub where they can be a part of the response to issues facing our community. Stay tuned for future event announcements.