Community Priorities for Action on Overdose: Report from the South Island Community Overdose Response Network

The South Island Community Overdose Response Network has released a report from a community symposium that took place on December 12, 2017. Their report from the event is now available:  Community Priorities for Action on Overdose


From the Introduction:

In May 2017, AVI with the support of the Community Action Initiative (CAI) hosted a community symposium on overdose at the Songhees Wellness Centre. Following the symposium, a summary report was circulated to amplify the voices of people who use drugs, families who have lost loved ones, community organizations and the frontline staff who were present for the gathering. The solidarity and support from the event was palpable and many expressed a desire to continue our work together. The South Island Community Overdose Response Network (SICORN) was formed to continue our collective, frontline response to overdose, to speak the truth about the harm of stigma and shame, and to collaborate to save and improve as many lives as possible. SICORN is community-driven and includes people with Iived experience (PWLE), frontline workers, and family members impacted by the overdose crisis.

On December 1 2017, the Province of BC launched the Overdose Emergency Response Centre to lead urgent action to save lives and increase supports to people impacted by overdose. The Centre’s focus is on preventing overdose and providing supports that are, “on-the-ground, locally driven and delivered, action-oriented and rapidly implemented.”1 The Centre will support five Regional Response Teams (formed by BC’s health authorities) and local Community Action Teams which will have access to a new Community Crisis Innovation Fund as part of the projected $322 million the Province of BC will be investing to address the overdose crisis.

In light of the work already underway by SICORN in Victoria, and in anticipation of the new provincial response structure, SICORN, with the continued support of CAI, hosted a second symposium on December 12, 2017, to identify “Community Priorities for Action on Overdose.” Over 65 people representing community organizations, individuals with lived experience of overdose, family members and supporters, policy makers and researchers and came together to strategize about local, actionable priorities to prevent, respond to, and recover from overdose.

The event included presentations from Doug Hughes, the Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Addictions on the provincial plans regarding increasing community level actions, Dr. Mark Tyndall from the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control reviewed the 10 strategies for reducing overdose deaths identified through the BC Overdose Action Exchange Meeting 2; Jack Phillips from SOLID Outreach discussed the imperative of engaging people with lived experience; Tara Levis shared her story of navigating systems in an effort to curb her dependence on IV opiates so she can pursue her passion for helping fellow users and her mother, Nancy Murphy spoke about her experience dealing with stigma in the health care system as she supported Tara. The forum participants then broke into facilitated groups to discuss locally driven strategies to address each of the themes. Detailed notes were taken during the sessions and participants were invited to prioritize the key actions. The notes were summarized and then reviewed with the session facilitators. This report provides our collective strategies for action specific to the community of ‘Victoria’ on Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories.



Read the whole report: Community Priorities for Action on Overdose.