why did the drug supply change so dramatically? why have experts who think in terms of *heroin*, or people whose experience is solely about the market of 5+ years ago been so tragically and completely wrong?
you must understand that synthetic drugs have changed everything.
synthetic drugs are very profitable; we got too poor in a place that was getting wealthier by the day.
the Poisoning Massacre is similarly an economic crisis. in fact it is the same one and will not be solved entirely through Safe Supply. it will be mitigated, but the underlying causes will remain. and will return. its more than a housing crisis.
we got too poor. From 2007-2017, basic social assistance in BC was $610/mth and disability was $906/mth. the shelter rate, as ever, was $375/mth.
how does this compare to the supply change in other places? these are from The Future of Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids (2019) from @RANDCorporation and i highly recommend that you check that out.
Fentanyl’s challenge to treatment and harm reduction is etched starkly in Vancouver’s death rate,” the Rand authors state. Accurately. And this is also true:
Imagine, if you can, that twice as many people had died since 2016. That twice as many are dying right now.
Safe Supply is Poverty Reduction. it will eliminate the profit motive, thus the need for the informal market (if you do it right) and for survival crime. we must decommodify drugs. SafeSupply is therefore also Pharmacare.
The illicit market is sufficient proof that we don’t have “universal health care” in canada. While usually people think “two-tier, fancy private health clinics etc” – ie people for whom public health care is not good enough – which we’re not ok with, we also have thousands of people buying drugs of unknown composition on the street, who have no access to the public system which has rejected them. we criminalize them.
We can open the door back to the health care system through the provision of multiple ways to access Safe Supply (please stop saying “low-barrier”; people have different barriers and it doesnt mean they’re “low”). make programs accessible and create choices. NOT models.
and now in the Covidtimes, we know how this is going. Here is my summary of this UNODC report on Covid and the drug supply chain: shit is going to be bad all over. It was published in May, and they were right! There are no bailouts for the informal/illegal economy, but its still part of the global economy, and that whole thing IS NOT GOING GREAT
It is going to get worse and we should acknowledge that. i dont want what happened here to happen everywhere, i wouldnt want this for anyone. and the thing is
We have not really been able to acknowledge what has happened here.
“There is no one to care if you do not care – and that ‘you’, i think, is us, and thats whats happened. If we can’t care – because the work of mere survival becomes too much – then theres nothing that holds us together anymore.
The truth of this unspeakable thought was confirmed for me when people who had moved on came through to visit, people who understood this place deeply five years ago, and said No one cares anymore. Everything is broken, everythings gone, and looked at me in horror.
This feeling – of the world collapsing in on itself, of everyone dying, of inexpressible grief – its been a lot, its a lot to bear and those who remain have only become more isolated, and even more ground down by the work of survival and we’ve slowly lost what we held most dear: our ability to take care of each other. Which is crushing, but true.
We’ve lost so many people. Consider that when you have a social network – a mutual aid network – of people you see and say hey to everyday, share knowledge with, and these are the connections that held everything together – and THREE HUNDRED PEOPLE DIE EVERY YEAR FOR YEARS.
Those connections that we had have been broken, and connection was all we had. We can’t – we couldn’t pretend we were taking care of each other – it was like trying to tread water in a tsunami. we couldn’t. This has been a profound and serious massacre, and we need to acknowledge that. We need to change how we respond, and we have to continue to respond, because this cannot continue like this. “
and i was saying this in the beforetimes.
“it is important to acknowledge that a new era could be coming when synthetic opioids are so cheap and ubiquitous that supply control will become less cost-effective,” the RAND report very accurately states. once again we’re ahead of things in Vancouver. but.
there’s no stopping this with policing – policing makes it worse. and its all too much harm to reduce. we can’t reduce it enough to survive. The treatment system has (for the most part) failed to adjust as well, failed to comprehend the scale of this – there is still a two-week wait to even begin. Here, now: in Vancouver, in December 2020. It is a total failure.
we focus on opioids to our detriment. This is not an opioid crisis.
and this is only the first wave. to users this is obvious.