End The Drug War

OCTOBER 2017    SUPERVISED INJECTION SERVICES UPDATE

By the time you are reading this, renovations of our space at 955 Queen St should be well underway for the expansion of our harm reduction program to include supervised injection services!

This new service will be located in the area that includes Raffi, Rhiannon and Sang Won’s offices and the meeting room across the hall.  In order to accommodate this new service, we will have to move around some staff offices.  COUNTERfit’s Fixed Site will remain in its current location.  Rhiannon’s office is temporary in the area behind the first floor reception. Sang Won will be moving into the space where Zoe and Paula have been for the last few years – just on the other side of the lobby at the front of the building.  Zoe and Paula and the rest of the Hep C Team will be staying on the first floor but some of them will be moving to area behind the first floor reception.  It’s a bit like a game of tetris right now – we’re still figuring it out!

Supervised injection services provide a hygienic environment for people to inject pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of trained staff. Our SIS will be staffed by a peer worker, health promoter and a nurse.  In addition to supervised injection, individuals are provided with sterile injection supplies, education on safer injection, overdose prevention and intervention, medical and counselling services, and referrals to drug treatment, housing, income support and other services.  The service will initially be open at the same time as the Health Centre.  If there is demand to be open longer (and if we can get funding), we will extend the hours.

We are planning to have the supervised injection service up and running sometime in November.

AUGUST 21, 2017

The City of Toronto Public Health Department the Works Needle Exchange program has opened their temporary supervised site which is open Monday – Saturday from 4-10pm.  For now there are cubicles for 3 drug users to inject at one time.  They are working on a permanent site which will open 7 days a week from 10am -10pm.    Read more:

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/08/21/city-run-safe-injection-site-to-open-downtown-monday-afternoon.html

AUGUST 2017

The Ontario provincial government has been slow and ineffectual in its response to the rising number of preventable deaths, and people who use drugs, along with their allies, have been left to respond to overdoses largely alone, without sufficient funding.  Therefore more than 700 harm reduction workers sent a letter to Wynne to declare an emergency over the opioid crisis.  Read more.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/08/28/health-care-harm-reduction-workers-call-on-ontario-to-declare-opioid-emergency.html

needle

AUGUST 2017

Sick and tired of waiting for the government to do something about the overdose crisis, the Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance took it upon themselves to courageously organize and set up a pop up overdose tent in Moss Park.  Here’s an example of community organizing at it’s best.  Read more below.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/toronto-overdose-prevention-pop-up-site-1.4244301

Volunteer harm reduction worker, Sarah Ovens helps set up the safe injection site at Moss Park on Aug. 14, 2017. With an epidemic of overdose deaths, a group of harm reduction workers opened the pop-up site inside a tent in the park. Now there is talk about giving it a permanent home.

JANUARY 2017

We received great news that the Provincial Government will support and fund Supervised Injection Services in Toronto and Ottawa.

Ontario agrees to fund Toronto supervised injection sites amid opioid crisis

 OCTOBER 2016

We invite you to take part in the Global Week of Action against the Duterte Government in the Philippines.  This Action is loosely organized by the International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD).  In Canada, a number of grass –roots organizations and user/activists are leading the charge, including South Riverdale Community Health Centre.

Please distribute the attached letter to all your networks, and contact Canadian politicians and the Philippines diplomatic offices in Canada and demand the end of these atrocities (addresses included in the letter).

More than 3000 people who use drugs have been killed and 120000 others have given themselves up and are imprisoned in already dismal prison conditions since May.  This is the worst attack on our community in recent memory and shows how the war on drugs gives sadist presidents like Duterte the justification to murder stigmatized communities with impunity.  With these murders, Duterte hopes to maintain hold on power for a long time.

An Open Letter on the Extrajudicial Killing of People Who Use Drugs in the Phillipines

Since the election of President Rodrigo Duterte, more than 3000 people in the Philippines have been executedwithout due process for allegedly selling or using drugs. President Duterte has publically and repeatedly incited
law enforcement and the general public to commit these murders and other acts of vigilante violence. Duterte’spolitical rhetoric is becoming increasingly alarming, and he has openly stated his support for further mass
murder, explicitly invoking Hitler’s genocide against Jewish people in stating “There are 3 million drug addicts, I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

We offer the deepest condemnation of the atrocities being committed against people accused of using or selling illicit drugs under President Duterte’s regime. We urge the Canadian government to press the
Government of the Philippines to stop these extrajudicial murders, and institute a drug policy that respects the human rights and dignity of people who use illicit drugs.

These murders are occurring within the context of the ongoing Philippines civil war, which has featured brutal counterinsurgency operations that have violated the human rights of the Philippines citizenry. We are steadfastly in support of further peace talks to end this protracted civil war. The people of the Philippines suffer from widespread economic inequality, and this issue must be addressed through economic and social reforms that would accompany a peaceful end to this conflict. Furthermore, we do not support foreign (U.S. or otherwise) military intervention or regime change operations, as these would only exacerbate neocolonial oppression and reduce the potential for a long lasting and just end to this civil war.

There are over 600,000 people of Filipino descent living in Canada, making them one of Canada’s largest immigrant communities. Canada and the Philippines have important economic, social and cultural links. We urge the Canadian public to foster closer ties and support grassroots organizations that are resisting drug warviolence and fighting for social and economic justice within the Philippines.

The human rights of people who use illicit drugs need to be respected and upheld. We are strongly urging:
1. An immediate end to the extrajudicial killings, harassment and violence against people who use drugs by the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its linked paramilitary forces.
2. Prosecution of those responsible for the extrajudicial murders of people suspected of selling or using illicit drugs.
3. That the Canadian government end its training of and cooperation with the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines implicated in the recent extrajudicial killing of people who use drugs.

The Canadian public can show support for those actions by sending emails, letters, and tweets to the Philippines embassies and Canadian government representatives indicated at the bottom of this letter.

Thank you for your support,
Canadian Association Of People Who Use Drugs
Canadian Drug Policy Coalition
Vancouver Area Network Of Drug Users
Toronto Drug Users Union
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Harm Reduction Network
South Riverdale Community Health Centre

TAKE ACTION
Please send your emails, tweets and letters to the diplomatic representatives of the Philippines in Canada.
Contact information for these is below.
CONTACT
Philippines Diplomatic Offices in Canada
Her Excellency Petronila P. Garcia, Ambassador
Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines
130 Albert Street, Suite 900
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5G4
Tel.: (613) 233-1121
Fax: (613) 233-4165
Email: embassyofphilippines@rogers.com
Web: http://www.philembassy.ca/

Consulate General of the Philippines in Calgary
517 10th Ave. SW, Suite 920
Calgary, AB T2R 0A8
Tel.: (403) 455-9343 / 455-9346 / 455-9457 / 455-9483
/ (587) 577-1524
Email: calgarypcg@yahoo.ca / calgary.pcg@dfa.gov.ph

Hon. Rosalita S. Prospero, Consul General
Consulate General of the Philippines in Toronto
7th Floor, 160 Eglinton Ave. East
Toronto, Ontario M4P 3B5
Tel.: (416) 922-7181
Fax: (416) 922-2638
Email: consularmatters@philcongen-toronto.com

Hon. Neil Frank R. Ferrer, Consul General
Consulate General of the Philippines in Vancouver
999 Canada Place, Suite 660
Vancouver, BC V6C 3E1
Tel.: (604) 685-1619 / 685-7645
Fax: (604) 685-9945
Email: vancouverpcg@telus.net

Canadian Diplomatic Offices
Canadian Embassy Philippines
Tel.: (63-2) 857-9000
Fax: (63-2) 843-1082
Political and Public Affairs
Email: manil@international.gc.ca
Fax: (63-2) 843-1078
Twitter: @CanEmbPh

The Honourable Stéphane Dion
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Government of Canada, House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
(No postage required)
Tel.: 1 (613) 996-5789
Fax: 1 (613) 996-6562
Email: stephane.dion@parl.gc.ca

 

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COUNTERfit Harm Reduction Program’s Memorial for People who Use Drugs at South Riverdale Community Health Centre  was established in 2010 as a remembrance, healing and community arts initiative to build an 8-foot copper flame monument commemorating loved ones who have died in the War on Drugs. By building this important monument we want to remember our friends. We also want to express our rage at this War and the many people who have been killed in our city from drug overdoses, poverty, violence and complications from HIV and Hepatitis C, many of whom are people living in poverty, people from racialized communities, sex workers and/or people with mental health struggles. We demand an end to policies and structures that produce and reproduce inequalities, stigma and discrimination toward people who use drugs and their families.

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