Substance Use News: April

BC’s Public Health Crisis at One Year: The Overdose Epidemic

The provincial government has released a report following up on Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall’s announcement of a public health crisis on April 14, 2016. BC’s Opioid Overdose Response: One-Year Update (April 13, 2017)  summarizes efforts in seven key areas:

  • Immediate response to an overdose by expanding naloxone availability and the reach of supervised consumption services
  • Preventing overdoses before they happen by improving treatment options and care
  • Public education and awareness about overdose prevention and response
  • Monitoring, surveillance and applied research
  • Improving the scheduling of substances and equipment under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the Precursor Control Regulations
  • Improving federal enforcement and interdiction strategies by working with the Canada Border Services Agency
  • Enhancing the capacity of police to support harm reduction efforts related to street drugs by providing training to police and other first responders

Also released: BC Coroner’s Illicit Drug Overdose Deaths in BC January 1, 2007 – March 31, 2017


The British Columbia Centre on Substance Use

The British Columbia Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) website became fully functional on April 1, but the work of the Centre was launched last fall. The BCCSU focuses on three core areas: research and evaluation, education and training, and clinical care guidance. Their vision is to “Transform substance use policy and care in BC through the integration of evidence-based education, research, and care.” The BCCSU is an offshoot of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BCCfE), which has long researched HIV treatment and social determinants that affect health outcomes. The BCCSU will offer public education (Dr. Mark Lysyshyn’s May 31 lecture on BC’s overdose emergency is already full). Keep your eye on their events page for more.


Ontario Drug Policy Research Network Release Report 

Ontario Drug Policy Research Network has released a report on Ontario’s opioid related deaths from 1991-2015. There has been a 285% increase over this time. The ODPRN notes: 

Current data are needed to understand the impact of the introduction of new opioid prescribing policies, the reported rise in illicit fentanyl availability, as well as changes to formulation and availability of prescription opioids.


The Danger of Over the Counter Drugs to Ease Withdrawal Symptoms

Earlier this month The Atlantic featured an article on the use of over the counter (OTC) medication to ease withdrawal symptoms. Addicts Who Can’t Get Opioids Are Overdosing on a Diarrhea Drug explains that anti-diarrhea treatment Immodium contains loperamide. According to author Sarah Zhang, when used as suggested, loperamide doesn’t reach the brain, but at very high doses, it can. High doses can induce similar effects to opioids- depressed breathing and possibly death. It can also cause irregularities in heart rhythm. Zhang cites a US FDA Safety Alert from 2016 noting the potentials for harm in overuse of Immodium.


tions? Feedback? Get in touch!
Janet Madsen, Capacity Building and Knowledge Translation Coordinator,
[email protected]
Posted in News, Research, Resource |

A New Evaluation Resource: Peer Evaluator Training Manual


PAN is excited to introduce a new comprehensive resource on evaluation – the Peer Evaluator Training Manual! We hope this will be a good resource for PAN, REACH and other teams doing participatory evaluation work around the country. This resource will particularly be useful to those seeking to build evaluation capacity including teams that are working with people with lived experience and/or community-based organizations who haven’t done a lot of evaluation work to date. It was developed and piloted as a manual to train a set of Peer Evaluators at PAN for the PLDI program. 


The Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDI) is a well-recognized program in BC to support people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) to realize their leadership potential and to increase their capacity to meaningfully participate in the community. PLDI is an exemplary model of implementing GIPA and MIPA principles, as the program is run by a team of PLWHA for their peers. Thus, an evaluation project to measure the impact of PLDI program also followed the GIPA and MIPA approach by hiring and training peer evaluators.


Using the Peer Evaluator Training Manual, the peer evaluators learned about  evaluation and different types, approaches, and methods used in evaluation. Peer evaluators also gained skills on how to: build an evaluation plan, develop and execute data collection tools; conduct data analysis; and share evaluation findings.


For those who are interested in engaging deeper into and learning more about any of the topics, the References and Resources document provides additional resources, broken down into the same chapters as the manual. 



Questions? Feedback? Get in touch!

Janice Duddy, Director of Evaluation and Community Based Research

[email protected] 




Posted in Evaluation News | Tagged , , ,

Webinar: Sexual Transmission of Hepatitis C: Research Update and Implications for Gay Men’s Health Providers

Community Based Research Centre for Men's HealthFrom the Community Based Research Centre for Gay Men’s Health:

Our understanding of hepatitis C (HCV) transmission and the development of effective HCV treatment has evolved dramatically in recent years. In high resource countries, HCV is primarily passed through sharing used injection drug equipment, however, HCV infections were occurring among HIV-positive gbMSM who reported not having used injection drugs. This confused public health for years until recent research was able to show that HCV can be passed through sexual contact. Campaigns like Frank Talk by the Community Based Research Centre have attempted to educate gbMSM on how HCV could be passed during rough sexual contact through small traces of blood. Research now shows  that HCV can be found in semen, providing new evidence that HCV may be transmitted sexually without exposure to blood.

This webinar will highlight the latest research on HCV transmission and treatment, with the goal of better equipping public health, healthcare providers and gbMSM with updated information about the sexual transmission of HCV. The webinar will include an overview presentation by Scott Anderson (HCV writer/researcher at CATIE), as well as presentations from the Pacific Hepatitis C Network (PHCN) and community members with lived experience.

Register Here!

For more information, contact [email protected]


Posted in News |

UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board Seeks Submissions

Call for Submissions: Case Studies for the 40th PCB Thematic Segment on HIV Prevention 2020: A global partnership for delivery

The UNAIDS PCB NGO Delegation is seeking submissions from communities and civil society organizations that will contain any of the following:
1. A description of how national programmatic prevention targets were set and what the targets that were set entail. These should be related to the 5 pillars in the UNAIDS Prevention Gap report:

  • Combination prevention, including comprehensive sexuality education, economic empowerment and access to sexual and reproductive health services for young women and adolescent girls and their male partners in high-prevalence locations.
  • Evidence-informed and human rights-based prevention programmes for key populations, including dedicated services and community mobilization and empowerment.
  • Strengthened national condom programmes, including procurement, distribution, social marketing, private-sector sales and demand creation.
  • Voluntary medical male circumcision in priority countries that have high levels of HIV prevalence and low levels of male circumcision, as part of wider sexual and reproductive health service provision for boys and men.
  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis for population groups at higher risk of HIV infection.

2. A description of a rapid scale-up of a prevention programme or programme component at the national or subnational level, including statistics on numbers reached with combination prevention;

3. A description of how a policy was changed which will likely contribute to a reduction in new infections;

4. Description on how financing for prevention was increased, including allocation data before and after the decision to increase the prevention budget.

The submissions would be used as follows:

  • A few good examples would be selected and the responsible colleague invited to present the programme as a PCB case study;
  • Some examples will be used to illustrate the Background Note (see attached annotated draft outline of the Background Note); and
  • Submissions will be compiled in a conference room paper for the 40th PCB meeting.

Please keep submissions short, preferably only 1 – 2 pages. For submission forms, please email us at [email protected]

Deadline of submission by email to [email protected] is by COB Geneva, Monday, 24 April 2017.

Posted in Announcement, News, Research |

Remembering Dr. Mark Wainberg

Dr. Mark Wainberg and colleaguesIt was with heavy hearts that we learned of the accidental death of Dr. Mark Wainberg, a passionate leader in HIV research and education. Wainberg was the Senior Investigator at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, based at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal.  He was also one of the founding members of the Canadian Association for HIV Research, where he served as President and helped to steer the direction of the annual CAHR conference

CBC’s headline identified him as a “HIV/AIDS trailblazer who saved millions of lives”  and indeed, he was. In Mark Wainberg and the Enduring Importance of 3TC, Dr. Paul Sax timelines Wainberg’s role in discovering how 3TC could challenge HIV and offer hope for treatment. 3TC has continued to play a strong role in HIV treatment protocol that has saved millions.

From the PAN community, condolences to all those who knew and worked with Wainberg. He will be sorely missed.

Photo courtesy of CAHR. Wainberg is fourth from the left. 


Janet Madsen, Capacity Building and Knowledge Translation Coordinator 
Posted in Announcement, News |

Staff Welcomes and Changes

The beginning of a new fiscal year often brings shifts in staffing as some projects are completed or move into different phases — while other new programs and projects begin. We are happy to announce changes to our team, welcoming some new faces while others turn their talents and energies to different challenges. We also want to take the opportunity to say goodbye to some team members who are now moving on, and to thank them for all their dedication and work.

Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDI) Manager – Jaydee Cossar

Jaydee has been working with PAN since May 2015 as the PLDI and Stigma Index Project Manager. Jaydee’s primary responsibilities were to serve as the principal liaison for each project, dividing his time equally across the PLDI and the Stigma Index. His work on the Stigma Index was focused on the initial development and planning for the project, working closely with the research team and Peer Research Associates. Now that data collection is finished, over the next few months Jaydee will be transitioning out of his role as Stigma Index Manager and into a full-time role as the PLDI Manager. PAN is working in partnership with the Ontario AIDS Network and COCQ-SIDA (Quebec) to develop PLDI as a national project. Jaydee will contribute to national coordination, developing training curriculum for Quebec, and scaling up of training events in BC and Ontario. Janice and the Evaluation team will be supporting evaluation of the National PLDI project.

You may contact Jaydee via email at [email protected] or 604.569.1998.


Evaluation Coordinator – Mona Lee

We are very pleased to announce that effective April 1st, Mona Lee was hired/promoted into the role of Evaluation Coordinator at PAN. Mona will be a familiar name and face to you, as she has been working at PAN in several capacities over the past few years: as Vancouver Site Coordinator for Positive Living, Positive Homes (PLPH) study; as Administrative support; and most recently, she has been actively supporting Janice within the CBR and Evaluation program, developing evaluation resources and planning for shared measurement work with both PHSA and Northern Health. Now that data collection for PLPH has concluded, Mona will continue to support PLPH one day a week in the role of Knowledge Translation Coordinator. As with Jaydee and his Stigma Index work, Mona will be working over the month of April to ensure smooth transition of her administrative duties to the new Executive Assistant position, or other staff person as appropriate.

You may contact Mona via email at [email protected] or 778.984.1023.

Capacity Building & Knowledge Translation Coordinator – Janet Madsen

Janet Madsen has joined the PAN team as the Capacity Building and Knowledge Translation Coordinator, bringing with her years of experience in the community-based HIV/AIDS sector in British Columbia. Janet will be managing a number of program and project areas, including: supporting and developing capacity building and training events (webinars, regional trainings and an annual Educators’ Forum for people who work with Indigenous populations); managing the PAN Weekly News (e-news), social and other digital media; providing knowledge translation service and support to the Stigma Index and other research projects; and providing administrative support services for other PAN initiatives. You may know Janet from her years at Positive Women’s Network, where she was responsible for all traditional communications and digital media initiatives. Janet has worked on contract with PAN several times, most recently joining us in November 2016 as the Collective Impact Network and Special Projects Coordinator.
Please note that the management of the PAN Weekly News is now returning “in house” and will be Janet’s responsibility. Please email Janet with items. 

You may contact Janet via email at [email protected] or at 604.725.5897.

Executive Assistant & Collective Impact Coordinator – Simon Goff

We are also pleased to welcome Simon Goff as Executive Assistant and Collective Impact Coordinator. Simon will be providing key administrative, logistical, and communications support to myself as Executive Director (ED) and the organization as a whole; as well as acting as Coordinator for the newly created Provincial Collective Impact Network that has been formed as a partnership between PAN and the PHSA. Simon comes to this dynamic new position at PAN with a strong background spanning over two decades in not-for profit administration. He holds a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Nottingham, UK. During his studies he volunteered as a homeless outreach team leader on the streets of Nottingham. Soon after graduating that program he felt called to the field of social justice work and began to work on a project with at-risk teens in Southampton, UK. When he moved to Victoria, Simon quickly found a spiritual home at Lambrick Park Church and over the past 17 years has been very involved in a number of paid and volunteer initiatives including leading a long-term partnership in Ethiopia with the organization Food for the Hungry, and helping to manage the weekly Street Café and Agape Meal at the Mustard Seed in Victoria. Simon is very keen to bring his passion for positive change to PAN and is eager to start making a real contribution to our organization and to HIV/HCV/ harm reduction and related sectors.

You may contact Simon via email at [email protected], or at 250.891.5249.

Making It Work Research Coordinator – Tabitha Steager

Tabitha is joining the PAN team on a part-time basis to help coordinate the Making It Work project, a CIHR CBR Catalyst grant funded through the Aboriginal Stream that was developed by members of what was the Provincial HIV, HCV, Mental Health and Substance Use Working Group. This grant is working to develop a Realist Evaluation Framework to try and understand how frontline providers make case management and community development projects work for people living with HIV, HCV, ill mental health and problematic substance use, with a particular eye to cultural safety. Tabitha comes to us with a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from UBC and has worked as a communications consultant and notable as a Senior Researcher with the Firelight Group a consulting group that works with Indigenous and local communities in Canada to provide high quality research, policy, planning, negotiation, and advisory services.

You may contact Tabitha via email at [email protected].


Thank You and Good-Byes

We bid a fond farewell to some folks who have made a significant contribution to PAN in their respective roles. We appreciate and thank them for all that they did!

Michael Smith – E-news Manager

Mike has been managing the PAN Weekly e-news on a contract basis since May 2015 and has been a diligent and reliable overseer of the e-news. Thank you Mike for all of your efforts.
Items for the PAN Weekly e-news should now be sent directly to Janet

Devyn Flesher – Site Coordinator, PLPH, Prince George

Devyn’s last day on PLPH was March 31st, and we bid her a fond farewell to her formal duties working out of the research site office at Positive Living North. Devyn’s hard work, creative input, reliability, and creation of connections in Prince George has helped the study and the community.

Vicki Nygaard – Site Coordinator, PLPH, Kamloops

In a similar way, Vicki’s role as Site Coordinator for PLPH in Kamloops has come to an end. Like Devyn, Vicki brought a ton of passion and enthusiasm to the study, and worked through a number of significant challenges for us in that community.

Questions? Feedback? Get in touch!
Jennifer Evin (Evin) Jones, Executive Director,
[email protected]
Posted in News, PAN Business |