Conversations that Matter Interview March 5, 2021
In 2001, the City of Vancouver approved the Four Pillars Strategy to tackle the growing addiction, mental health and homelessness issues. The Four Pillars were: Harm Reduction, Enforcement, Treatment and Prevention. That two-decade experiment has clearly failed when the only pillar, harm reduction seems to have been implemented.
The plan originally aimed to improve access to emergency and crisis interventions, reduce preventable deaths; reduce overall costs to the economy related to substance misuse; reduce crime; make the Downtown Eastside safe, among other laudable goals. Anyone has only to take a stroll through downtown to see the impacts and the spread from the Downtown Eastside to other areas of Vancouver.
Dr. Julian Somers, a Simon Fraser University addictions, mental health and homelessness expert, tells Stu McNish in Coversations that Matter that we must “understand the causes of addiction and the conditions that promote positive change. Under the current leadership, we have been backed into a corner where the civic duty of every British Columbian now includes knowing how to administer narcan.”
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