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  • SaferSites.ca

Something you can do to support the establishment and funding of supervised consumption services in Manitoba is contact your elected representative. Copy and paste the template below and customize it with your information. Then email or snail mail your MLA, MP or city councillor with your customized text!


House of Commons

Legislative Assembly of Manitoba

Winnipeg City Council



[Politician Name & title]


[Date]


Dear [Mx/Ms/Mrs/Mr. _________] I am writing today to add my voice to the 80+ organizations that signed the October 31, 2022 Open Letter (https://www.safersites.ca/post/2022openletter) urging all levels of government to take immediate action on the overdose and toxic drug supply crises.


These overlapping crises have been in effect since 2016 and have only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, a record 407 Manitobans died by overdose, and the existing data for 2022 have us on course to beat that number.


The Open Letter outlined seven calls to action, and I support all of them, because they are validated by evidence and developed by experts in the field – including academics, health professionals, and People Who Use Drugs. Every overdose and drug poisoning represents the loss of an irreplaceable human life, and that loss ripples out into the community.


I urge you to do whatever you can to put any and all of the calls to action into effect as soon as possible.


Signed,


[Your name]

[Your address and postal code]

[Your email and/or phone number]


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  • SaferSites.ca





Date: Friday, November 11, 2022

Location: Winnipeg

Substance name(s): Down

Visual description of substance: Orange and powdery

Details: A really strong batch of DOWN is being sold. It is described as orange and powdery in appearance. Folks say it took multiple naloxone kits to revive people in two different instances.


If you are using substances, please:

  • Use with a friend and stagger your use

  • Start low and go slow

  • Have and know how to use naloxone

If you are using alone, consider calling a friend or the NORS line at 1-888-688-NORS so they can spot you.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


80+ organizations send open letter to all levels of government demanding immediate action to respond to overdose crisis


Winnipeg, MB, November 4, 2022: a group of community organizations on the front line of the overdose crisis is asking all levels of government for immediate actions that will provide them with the tools and resources needed to respond to this crisis. In an open letter dated October 31 (included below) they list seven robust actions the government could take immediately to reduce the number of Manitobans dying from drug poisoning.


The actions recommended are rooted in evidence and human rights, and help people who use drugs and save lives. These actions include declaring a public health emergency, supporting mobile overdose prevention services, expanding access to a safe supply, support funding for supervised consumption sites, providing overdose data in a timely manner, funding frontline organizations to expand and develop programming, and cease expending resources on the enforcement of simple possession of illicit drugs.

As stated in the letter, all of these harm reduction interventions are research-based and supported and validated by academics, public health experts and people who use drugs. The group has requested to meet with the government and urged them to act strongly and proactively on these calls.


These organizations have come together as a community to promote and support educating the public on the severity of the crisis.


Background:

Manitoba has been in an overdose crisis due to a toxic drug supply since 2016. In 2021 the province had a record number of 407 deaths which is a rate of 30/100,000 Manitobans dying last year; an increase from 372 in 2020. Data suggests that even more Manitobans will die in 2022 — current numbers for the first half of the year are over 250 deaths. In recent weeks the community has seen an increase in deaths due to a toxic supply of drugs in Winnipeg with the community reporting five overdose deaths in shelters and in the City of Winnipeg. This is not just an issue in Winnipeg, as communities in rural, remote, and Northern Manitoba are reaching out for support to address overdoses and overdose deaths in their communities; a single community reported 22 overdoses and nine deaths in a three month period.


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For more information, please contact:


Shohan Illsley Executive Director Manitoba Harm Reduction Network

204-250-2380 shohan@mhrn.ca



Jamil Mahmood Executive Director Main Street Project

204-599-5972 jmahmood@mainstreetproject.ca


Levi Foy Executive Director Sunshine House

executivedirector@sunshinehousewpg.org




LETTER DOWNLOAD

SaferSites Open Letter 103122
.pdf
Download PDF • 162KB

LETTER TEXT


October 31st, 2022


OPEN LETTER – Urgent Action Required for Direct Action to address the Overdose Deaths and Toxic Drug Supply in Manitoba


To Whom It May Concern,


Manitoba has been in an overdose crisis due to a toxic drug supply since 2016. In 2021 the province had a record number of 407 deaths which is a rate of 30/100,000 Manitobans dying last year; an increase from 372 in 2020. Data suggests that even more Manitobans will die in 2022; current numbers for the first half of the year are over 250 deaths. This week alone, the community has seen an increase in deaths due to a toxic supply of drugs in Winnipeg; with the community reporting five deaths due to overdose in shelters and in the City of Winnipeg. This is not just an issue in Winnipeg, as communities in rural, remote, and Northern Manitoba are reaching out for support to address overdoses and overdose deaths in their communities; a single community reported 22 overdoses and nine deaths in a three month period.


As community organizations on the front line of the overdose crisis we are asking for immediate actions that will provide us with the tools and resources needed to respond to this crisis. We are working tirelessly to ensure not one life is lost. Our spaces have become injection sites, our doorways, washrooms and alleyways are overdose response sites, and yet this is not enough, we need action now.


Manitobans are asking for action in a recent Probe Research poll from October 21, 2022: “Eight in ten Winnipeggers (81%) also support creating a safe consumption site for those who use drugs”


To reduce the number of Manitobans dying from drug poisoning, we need immediate and robust actions that are grounded in human rights and a public health approach. We are calling on all levels of government to:

  1. Declare a public health emergency OR Publicly acknowledge the overdose crisis to ensure all Manitobans are aware of the current public health crisis;

  2. Provide immediate support for a Mobile Overdose Prevention Site and provide funding to equip the MOPS with drug testing technology (FTIR Machine) to reduce overdoses and drug poisonings;

  3. Expand access to a Safe Supply of all drugs in Manitoba, an evidence-based public health measure that will reduce overdoses and drug poisonings;

  4. Provide immediate support and funding for Supervised Consumption Sites and Services in Winnipeg as well as rural communities showing readiness. This includes Pop-Up Safe Consumption services that can respond to communities in the moment to reduce overdoses and drug poisonings;

  5. Provide overdose data in a timely manner that will allow community-based organizations to respond in the moment to reduce overdoses and drug poisonings;

  6. This includes data sharing and accountability with Police (WPS, RCMP) and Fire Paramedic Services.

  7. Provide funding for frontline organizations to expand and develop programing to respond to the crisis to reduce overdoses and drug poisonings;

  8. Recommend that police forces immediately and for the duration of this public health emergency cease expending resources on the enforcement of simple possession of illicit drugs and related offences;

All of the harm reduction interventions are supported and validated by academics, public health experts and People Who Use Drugs to save their communities. We urge you to act strongly and proactively on these calls. We respectfully ask for a meeting with all of you as soon as possible to discuss.

As a community we are coming together to promote and support educating the public on the needs in our community and the crisis we are working through. We hope this can be shared work with all levels of government.


Signed,



Sunshine House, Inc.

Spence Neighbourhood Association

Central Neighbourhood Association

West Central Women's Resource Centre

Winnipeg Harm Reduction Network

Resource Assistance for Youth

Siloam Mission

End Homelessness Winnipeg

N'Dinawemak

Manitoba Harm Reduction Network

Sexuality Education Resource Centre Manitoba Inc (SERC)

The Link: Youth and Family Supports

Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre of Winnipeg, Inc.

Giigewigamig First Nation Health Authority

Nine Circles Community Health Centre

Northwest Interlake Harm Reduction Network

Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation

Brandon and Area overdose Awareness Inc

The Women’s Resource Centre (Brandon, Manitoba)

Play it Safer Network (Flin Flon, Manitoba Harm Reduction Network)

Play It Safer Network (The Pas/OCN, Manitoba Harm Reduction Network)

The Selkirk Friendship Centre

MFL Occupational Health Centre

Hope Centre Health Care, Inc.

Substance Consulting

North End Women's Centre

Mount Carmel Clinic

Aboriginal Health and Wellness Clinic

Smart recovery Brandon Manitoba

Survivor's Hope Crisis Centre

Social Planning Council of Winnipeg

Zaagi'idiwin Full Spectrum Indigenous Doulas

Manitoba Health Coalition

Safer Choices Northern Network (SCNN)

Bar None Winnipeg

Overdose Awareness Manitoba

North Point Douglas Women's Centre

Manitoba Moms Stop the Harm Advocacy Group

Winnipeg Police Cause Harm

Recovery Day Brandon

Under One Roof - Crisis Prevention Task Force

WE24: West End Twenty Four Hour Safe Space

Peg City Kindness Crew

Chelsea Grove

Ken St. George on behalf of Albert House, Inc.

Interlake Reserves Tribal Council

Sex Workers of Winnipeg Action Coalition (SWWAC)

Art City, Inc.

West Broadway Community Organization

Of No Fixed Address Advocacy Radio

Police-Free Schools Winnipeg

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505

Women's Health Clinic

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - Manitoba

Manitoba Young New Democrats


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