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Virtual Harm Reduction Symposium – Time’s Up
24 February 2021 @ 12 h 00 min - 15 h 30 min
The Harm Reduction Symposium will bring together many stakeholders to raise awareness, educate, and enhance harm reduction collaboration.
CALL TO ACTION:
As a community, it is our responsibility to improve the lives of those impacted by problematic substance use. To achieve this, we need to reduce stigma, increase community collaboration, and influence systematic changes.
Impact of Drug Use in Canada:
The opioid crisis continues to claim the lives of Canadians. 17,602 apparent opioid-related deaths occurred between January 2016 and June 2020.
1,628 apparent opioid toxicity deaths occurred between April and June 2020, representing the highest quarterly count since national surveillance began in 2016.
In Canada, more than 12 deaths per day are due to the opioid crisis.
New Brunswick is reported to have the second highest prevalence of injection drug use in the country, second only to British Columbia. A large spike in overdose deaths has been observed as the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved and an increase in deaths among People Who Use Drugs (PWUD) has been felt across the country. This was also noted by the Saint John Police Force in mid-October. The warning was extended to advocacy groups in southern New Brunswick following several months of observation during the pandemic. In general, PWUD have been more vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to poor health literacy and stigma and discrimination. In this setting there have been calls for decriminalization and increased access to safe supply.
It is time to encourage community capacity building to address these complex issues. The Harm Reduction Symposium will provide a platform to discuss innovative and sustainable approaches.
The 3rd annual Harm Reduction Symposium will bring together many stakeholders to raise awareness, educate, and enhance harm reduction collaboration.