The Drug Users Resource Centre, the Downtown Eastside non-profit famous for housing Canada’s first crack pipe vending machine, is also behind what may well be North America’s first program teaching severe alcoholics how to brew their own beer and wine.
Mark Townsend, director of the Portland Hotel Society, a publicly funded agency which operates the centre, says the idea is to keep Vancouver’s homeless alcoholics from turning to “rubbish” sources of alcohol like hand sanitizer or mouthwash. “We do know that it’s better that people don’t drink rubbing alcohol,” he said.
Tyler BigChild - Drug Users Resource Centre Board Member and Brew Co-Op member - image is copyright free
Station Street - Managed Alcohol Program
copyright free images of the Drug Users Resource Centre’s glass pipe vending machine.
Heavy measures: Overdose risk as methadone in B.C. gets stronger
By Garth Mullins, with files from Lisa Hale
Methadone is about to become 10 times stronger in B.C., a change that could put unsuspecting users at risk of overdose or even death, according to concerned community health advocates.
Methadone is a highly regulated, strong narcotic used to treat addiction to opiates, like heroin, Oxycontin and Fentanyl. Starting February 1, it will be dispensed in a 1mg/1ml cherry-flavoured syrup, rather than the current 1mg/10ml orange Tang-like liquid. Unbeknownst to many, that change marks a 10-fold concentration increase. The new product, called Methadose, also resembles children’s medication, which increases the risk of accidental digestion.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, which administers methadone prescription, has warned of a “public safety risk until all stakeholders are informed.” The College of Pharmacists of BC warned of “a greater impact as a result of measurement error.” Even a small error of only 1ml in prescribing or dispensing will have 10 times the effect.
An addictions specialist, who asked not to be identified, shared a document provided to her by the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons. The document advises doctors to “consider providing patients who may be at risk of overdose with Nalaxone.” Nalaxone, also known as Narcan, is a fast-acting medication for emergency use when someone overdoses. The doctor said she was “floored” by the notion that this change to a stronger methadone is so risky that doctors are advised to send patients home with overdose medication.
This is a small video we edited together for InSite’s 10 year anniversary. It is part of a larger project that we are in the process of making and only captures a sliver of the amazing stories and incredible people who were involved in making InSite happen.