Evidence to
Promote Wellness

CHIME is an acronym that’s based on what “recovery” means to people who experience it:

  • Connectedness to others
  • Hope for the future
  • Identity change
  • Meaningfulness in life
  • Empowerment and an expanded experience of freedom

Extensive peer-reviewed research shows that the same core elements are associated with recovery from mental illness as well as from harmful addictions.

Services can be assessed based on how well they support the elements of CHIME.

In Contrast, Drug addiction isn’t cured with more harmful drugs.

Publicly released audits confirm that billions of public dollars for homelessness and addiction have been spent with “rampant mismanagement“ and little to no measurement or accountability. Now additional tax dollars are going to fund a Public Supply of Addictive Drugs (aka “Safe Supply”) rather than services that improve wellness.

Canadian medical authorities including Dr. Vincent Lam and Dr. Launette Rieb are speaking out. Dr. Rieb says:  “there has been little objective evidence that “safe supply” reduces fentanyl usage or deaths.

 ‘Safe supply’ is a misnomer. It is not treatment and it is an unproven intervention.”

When presented with evidence that some major government policies are causing increased suffering, the BC government demanded destruction of 20 years of research evidence pointing the way to solutions. The same BC government has ignored a fully budgeted plan to implement evidence-based services in BC:

Homelessness, Addiction, & Mental Illness, A Call to Action for British Columbia.

Construction Safety And Substance Use:
Blueprint for Action in BC

Construction sector insiders advised BC’s Legislature: “Approximately 55 percent of those who have overdosed have worked in the construction sector.”

The Canadian and BC Governments have embraced and amplified the view that opioids are strongly connected to the construction sector. Various media stories have also reiterated this narrative widely.

However, the findings of this new study, based on surveys completed by 639 people from 35 organizations, including IUOE local 115, CIRP, WorkSafeBC, and VICA, run contrary to those government positions.

Using Statistics Canada definitions of employment, the SFU study calculates only about seven per cent of the “first-recorded poisonings” in B.C. were of people earning more than $500 in construction-related annual income.

“The findings … emphasize that poisonings overwhelmingly involve people who are unemployed, use multiple drugs, and struggle with mental illness,” noted the report from SFU’s Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addictions.

A Call to Action

Clear evidence shows that communities around BC need help addressing addiction and homelessness. The most effective way to end street homelessness is through scattered housing in mixed populations, not warehousing people all together or giving them drugs.

Scattered housing is strongly preferred by people who need help, and head to head comparisons show that the results are massively superior to housing people together in single buildings. Communities and taxpayers benefit too. Although both approaches cost roughly the same, only scattered housing causes large reductions in crime and medical emergencies.

The attached plan to rapidly implement effective services in BC was submitted to Ministers Eby and Malcolmson in July 2021 and was met with stony silence. Evidence from Canada and around the world is being ignored. We ask why, and for how much longer?  Research confirms:

  • Community-based, recovery-oriented housing is key, as called for by Canada’s landmark senate report Out of The Shadows At Last.
  • Randomized trials show that recovery-oriented housing causes a 71% reduction in crime and a 50% reduction in medical emergencies.
  • People struggling with addictions want to resume paid work, overcome their addictions, and reconnect with children or other family members.
  • Surrounding communities see benefit too. Although both approaches cost the same, only scattered housing offers a path to wellness and incentivizes healthy, societal reintegration. If you surround people trying to recover with those who are still using drugs, their chances for lasting recovery are slim.

Publicly-Funded Supply Of Addictive Drugs: A Rapid Review

Over recent decades Canada and the United States have experienced catastrophic increases in addiction and related consequences, including fatal poisonings. 

In response to the current crisis, some have called for a Public Supply of Addictive Drugs (PSAD), referred to by advocates as “safe supply” despite the fact they are still administering harmful drugs. The current review investigates the evidence presented in peer-reviewed studies calling for “safe supply”.

Read other expert findings from this recent Globe and Mail article Nov. 20/21. Quoted excerpts appear below.

The Relationship Between Legal Status Of Drug Possession & Criminalization Of Users

The longstanding association between addiction, crime, and mortality has become increasingly severe in Canada, affecting larger numbers of individuals and communities.

Over 2,500 articles were retrieved from three databases and summarized in this literature review in the Dec. 2022 issue of the Journal of Community Safety & Well Being.

The evidence reviewed indicates that drug decriminalization alone is associated with potential harms to drug users and their communities.

Notably, alcohol is legally available to adults and is associated with more violence and crime than any other drug.

The Commission’s recommendations directly conflict with some of the BC Provincial Health Officer’s (PHO) recommendations: “Policies that should attract skepticism include the dispensing of hydromorphone from vending machines and prescribing a range of potent opioids and other drugs (e.g., benzodiazepines, stimulants) to individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) in hopes of creating a safe addictive-drug supply” (p. 12).

“The research on what people with addictions want is international and clear: they want help getting off of drugs, they want help reducing the harms of their addictions,” said Dr. Julian Somers, a clinical psychologist specializing in addiction.

The Northern Beat, Navigating The Brave New World of “Safer” Supply – December 16, 2022

Photo shows the label on harmful, addictive drugs offered by the DRUG USER LIBERATION FRONT (DULF).

Effective Practices From Around the World

Italy’s San Patrignano Recovery Centre

Italy’s San Patrignano recovery centre is one of many solutions to the homelessness, addiction & mental health challenges in our communities.

Their therapeutic programs, with high success rates, ensure re-integration into society with vocational training included. Canada could re-purpose much of the billions of dollars from failed models and put it towards actual treatment, prevention, vocational training & life skills.

The Portugal Model of Treating Addiction

Veteran journalist Daphne Bramham explores the Portugal model best practices in a seven-part Vancouver Sun series, a comprehensive and highly recommended read.

Portugal has 63 therapeutic communities for recovering drug users, 60 operated by non-profit organizations and three by government.

In the 1990s, Portugal was in the throes of a national crisis, averaging 360 drug overdose deaths a year in a country of 10 million. Today, it has one of Europe’s lowest rates of drug, alcohol and tobacco use and the number of overdose deaths in 2016 was 26.

In a weeklong series from Portugal, Vancouver Sun columnist Daphne Bramham looks at the lessons to be learned from the country’s radical approach to addiction treatment. 

Daphne notes: “The goal of the communities is to treat residents’ addictions and provide them with the tools they need to avoid relapsing into drug or alcohol use. This includes building a network of social supports, employment training and skills development. For some, the stay can be as little as a few months. Others may remain in the community for up to three years.

Vancouver Sun Seven-Part Series

Addiction: Winning the war

Day 1: Portugal’s Goal is Setting Drug Users on a Path to Abstinence

Day 2: Decriminalization No Silver Bullet, says Portugal’s Drug Czar

Day 3: ‘It’s not OK to do drugs here,’ says former addict in Portugal

Day 4: Outreach workers have a long-term goal.

Day 5: Harm reduction promotes path to recovery for Portuguese drug users

Day 6: Treatment centres abound; so do waiting lists.

Day 7: Canada should learn from but not copy Portugal’s Drug Policy

More insight on the Portugal Model from the International Society of Substance Use Professionals:

“The Law 30/2000, which has been in place since July 2001, decriminalized illicit drug use and related acts. However, a person caught using or possessing a small quantity of drugs for personal use – where there is no suspicion of involvement in drug trafficking – will be evaluated by a local Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction. Punitive sanctions may be applied, though the main objective is to explore the need for treatment and to promote healthy recovery. “

B.C. municipalities pushing back against drug decriminalization

“When municipalities like Penticton, Kelowna and Campbell River push back against provincial drug policies, it’s a reminder that British Columbia is an outlier.

It is the only province in Canada experimenting with decriminalization of small amounts of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA for personal use. And it may be the only jurisdiction where decriminalization is not part of a comprehensive and funded plan to curb consumption and treat addiction.

Decriminalization isn’t a panacea. It is only one way to help connect drug users with a fully funded menu of services ranging from counselling to multi-year residential treatment, on the recommendation of experts at the commission for the dissuasion of drug use.

The other point that Goulão consistently makes is that decriminalization happened only after a lengthy period of countrywide public consultations.

Like Portugal, Oregon’s decriminalization didn’t mean no consequences. While criminal penalties are waived, anyone found with small quantities of drugs must either pay a $100 fine or have a health assessment done at an addiction recovery centre.”

Portugal no holiday for drug users, tourists told

Portugal 2001 drug policy implementation “In Faro, the Algarve’s capital, stunned addicts are feeling the effect of the new law. Used to being left alone by the police, they are now being hauled before the town’s anti-drug tribunal.”

PORTUGUESE police are stepping up attempts to stop drug tourists who think the country’s decriminalisation of all narcotics this month means they may smoke cannabis at cafes or take ecstasy on the beach.

Elisabete Azevedo, the tribunal’s president, said the carrot-and-stick approach was backed by penalties ranging from loss of a driving licence to fines of up to £200. “If they accept treatment, they escape punishment.”

Join our Mailing List

Thank you for joining. We will ensure you receive any critical developments. 


Share this page on social media


Join our Mailing List

Thank you for joining. We will ensure you receive any critical developments.