Addressing the Opioid Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Shauna Sylvester announces platform to tackle opioid poisoning crisis

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Sylvester releases strategy supporting four pillars approach, community support models, comprehensive care access, and collaboration with senior levels of government.

VANCOUVER, BC, September 10 - Mayoral candidate Shauna Sylvester released today her strategy addressing the opioid poisoning crisis plaguing the city’s residents.

“Let us be clear - we are in the midst of an opioid poisoning crisis. If this were our food or water, we would not hesitate to act. We need to move beyond misinformation, discrimination, stigma and fear, and align our resources to deliver empathetic and effective responses” said Sylvester.

She outlined her support for a comprehensive four pillars approach to tackling the crisis, including supporting urgent efforts to replace the toxic illegal drug supply with safer options for people, increasing the availability of naloxone, improving comprehensive access to care, and supporting front line prevention and treatment options. Sylvester stated her support for the expansion of Injectable Opioid Substitution Treatment, as recently announced by BC Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy D’Arcy.

“As your Mayor, I will commit to taking the following measures to address this crisis:

  • Reinstate and advance a strong four pillars approach at City Hall with a new lead program director.
  • Work to address stigma and change attitudes towards people who use drugs through education, public dialogue and community engagement.
  • Commit to supporting urgent actions to address the drug poisoning problem by working with partners to ensure a supply of clean drugs for people who use drugs.
  • Work towards decriminalization of possession of drugs for personal use in collaboration with the Federal Government, the VPD, and the RCMP.
  • Provide ongoing support for community-based models of overdose response and peers working on the front lines of the overdose crisis.
  • Create a clear and innovative plan for the Downtown Eastside with those who live, work, and play in the area. Activate public spaces in a way that aligns with that plan.
  • With due credit to City Council candidate Sarah Blyth, implement a garbage purchase program for homeless individuals that will enable people who are homeless and city workers to work together to keep our streets clean.
  • Work with other levels of government, including indigenous leaders, and health authorities to develop a mental health strategy.

“This isn’t a crisis we can afford to ignore. We have allowed this problem to get worse by decades of inaction towards modernizing our approach to drugs and addressing addiction issues through a comprehensive public health approach. We need a local government that is committed and equipped to tackle this problem head-on” said Sylvester.

Shauna Sylvester is an independent candidate running for Mayor of Vancouver in the 2018 Municipal Elections.

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Contacts: Robin Asgari: robin@cobaltstrategy.ca,   Jude Crasta: jude@cobaltstrategy.ca