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the past was prologue

our history is your future

its odd that they use the word ‘mixing’ as if the use of benzos like etizolam (which is not licensed for use in canada) was intended.

from Toward the Heart/BCCDC (Dec 23, 2020)

the fact is, these novel benzologues entered this market for the same basic reason that fentanyl did (when it flooded the market, almost entirely replacing heroin, 2015-16): profit.

apparently, its hard to make any money off poor people who are always getting poorer. so we see a very potent non-opioid in a large % of the supply. however, the supply itself changes through time. in fact, it changes in step with the cheque cycle most months. the upshot of this is after (for example) a couple weeks of using down with a high benzo content, your tolerance for opioids is diminished to whatever extent, meaning that you’re going down hard when the supply shifts and contains more fent.

month by month, the supply is inching away from opioids. in Toronto, the % of xylazine, a veterinary tranquilizer, is astonishing. on the west coast, drug checking finds novel benzodiazipines – ie they are custom-made.

in June, I tried to find out what – besides benzos – drug checking was seeing in the down. yes, i said. “active” contaminants and bunk.

  • 4-ANPP
  • acetaminophen
  • ascorbic acid
  • benzocaine
  • cocaine base
  • creatine
  • dextromethorphan
  • dimethyl sultone
  • heroin
  • hci lactose methamphetamine
  • HCI microcrystalline cellulose
  • phenacetin
  • plaster
  • polyethylene glycol
  • propionanilide
  • starch
  • sucrose
  • sugar (uncertain)
  • water
  • xylitol

this is a wrench in safe supply prescribing. you may think you use fentanyl but you also use benzos and a bunch of other random shit. so by shifting to safe supply, you’re withdrawing off all that, which can be terrible, and really dangerous (but not dopesick), and you can be prescribed legit benzos to make it smoother, and you should. whatever you think you use is inaccurate, and whatever a doctor says you use – well, that doctor is wrong.

can someone shift to a prescribed supply when theyve been consuming unknown sludge for however long? i think so, but we have to acknowledge the reality of the sludge to get anywhere. did anyone want all that shit in the first place?

on the other side you have the prescribed opioid without all that other stuff. but to get there i think health systems and prescribers need to get a lot more flexible. you’re not replacing a drug, but a drug market.

and if this is successful, that market will slowly react and there will be a tipping point when enough people are on prescribed supply, and those people will have a lot more money.

i wonder what will happen then


Did the media call?

Ask what would they are calling about! What’s the story?  when they tell you, tell them to call back in 5 minutes so you can find a quieter place to answer your questions. They will always say yes. Always. 

Now take a moment and consider: you’re speaking with the media but who is your audience? It is always the public: is this local media, provincial, or national? Are you telling the public about what you’ve been saying to a specific level of government and ministry? BE SPECIFIC AND BE CORRECT. DO YOUR RESEARCH. ASK OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD. if you’d rather talk out of your ass, you’re not helping at all, and probably doing harm. You know who you are.

Ok. what is your goal? what are you trying to get across to your audience? what is your message and what is your purpose?  (it doesn’t matter what the journalist’s specific topic is, you need to link whatever the topic is to your message and purpose: decrim, safe supply, housing, etc.

What i mean by Purpose is: What do you want the public to do?

Before you pick up that phone, think about the phrase or sentence that is the key point of your message. It should be clear, easy to understand and memorable AF. Quotable. The journalist doesn’t have to use anything you say in the final report/clip/article, so don’t let them cut you out – by being awesome.

Don’t recite facts or numbers. let the journalist do that. make sure the journalist knows what the relevant and important facts are and email them the source.  

Do not talk about yourself. Do not individualize the overdose emergency. It is a political issue that will be solved by policy change. And its much bigger than any one of us. Or even everyone we’ve lost. 

Make it about them. The regular normal public. Why do they need to end the overdose emergency, and what do they do?

For example – write their MLA/ minister of heath, post with a # hashtag, get a campaign sign, visit a website, do something concrete. Lets get ambitious. Give people something real they can do. i think we might be surprised.

Chaotic Goods

SO what’s the holdup with safe supply? what is this, just for show? for people with money, who already get a safe supply pretty easily? why is it everywhere but [place where you are]?

i dug around, as i like facts, got the same exact number from two sources: as of the end of july, there were 2,181 people accessing safe supply programs in BC. is that a lot? no. how many users in BC? the BCCDC makes a number with a model based on the number of syringes distributed – therefore not counting anyone who smokes anything. so quite an undercount, and the number they had was 55,000+. oh my.

And the supply is getting worse: the number of cases involving “extreme fentanyl concentrations” has doubled since last year. i’ve been comparing this to “the old fent” by comparing that to smooth peanut butter and the concentrations being found as crunchy. hotter than hotspots.

What does this mean? Well, there’s this pandemic that has disrupted everything, and these “extreme” concentrations indicate that while precursors are making it here, the production – in come cases – is not done by the same chemists or with the same equipment. It’s not as well made and there are residual precursors left in the mix, and the undiluted fent concentrations would take down an elephant or two. Yeah safe supply.

if, in march, when the Risk Mitigation guidelines were released, doctors had stepped up and stated publicly, in whatever way, “Yes! if you use drugs, you *are* at risk of fatal OD, i can at least prescribe this, i know its not perfect, lets start somewhere! out in public, let’s go!” and IF, in response, users had said, “FUK YES LETS GO we’ll figure this out” and through the power of *peer pressure* many more doctors got on board, and many more users all over the province did the same, where would we be now?

In other words, we don’t have time to demand perfection. and everyone’s idea of perfect is different. So? Find your own starting point, and work it til its perfect for you.

safe supply alignment chart

i dont understand why everyone is “calling on governments” at the moment. yes its a complicated mess, there should be more funding, but without prescribers… without public support… you are calling on nothing. asking “why don’t they care?” on day 1671 of this emergency is a stupid question to ask. if you don’t know the answer that question yet, you haven’t been paying attention, and don’t want to know the answer. don’t ask “how many have to die?” because the answer is “let’s find out.”

Catch up

It is a big deal that the people of Oregon voted to decriminalize simple possession of anything. We should do that! Yes, but also, no.

Why not? There’s one very significant reason, and it’s political reality. Do you want to get a citizen initiative on the ballot? BC is the only province with a process.

Registered voters can use the initiative process to propose a new provincial law or changes to an existing provincial law.
The voter must collect signatures from 10% of the registered voters in each of the province’s electoral districts for an initiative petition to succeed.

Oh. that sounds difficult, right? with the 87 ridings, and all those right-wing ones…..? we can continue Demanding? and Calling On? perhaps….. louder?

that strategy is not working. it’s been a few years.

the politicians and governments are not going to do this. seriously. the government in Oregon didn’t! it was the people! and to get that win, drug users and advocates and allies dropped their shit and organized.

can we do that? you’re not busy, or working on a grant, or going away. drop it. no one is going to do this for us, and we have to work together. if you won’t take a month out of your comfortable life for this, to give all of yourself to this, in whatever way you can contribute the most, you’re not an ally and you’re not in this fight, and you’re not with us.

the objective is to get those signatures.

but the method! is to spark this conversation in every electoral district. to talk to everyone! this is outreach. get it? this can be a big, network-building, months-long, intense campaign, all over the province. we can do this if we want to. 

that’s the essential thing: sparking the conversation, not trying to control it, and letting people have it themselves. the public discourse is how we reduce discrimination and bring people in. also:

  • stop centring ourselves, this is a social/political issue that impacts everyone
  • emphasize the economic sinkhole of criminalization
  • the drug war is racist, and a consequence of colonialism. defund the police.
  • safe supply does decriminalize. thats why we ask doctors – among the most powerful people in cdn society – to step up for us and prescribe. to defy the aura of criminal association.
  • when people object to the possibility of profound social change, thats how you know its necessary.
  • nothing about prohibition, the drug war, criminalization – none of this is natural or inevitable or necessary. its our world, lets change it. 
  • STOP TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF. talk about the impacts on the person you’re trying to convince.
decriminalize yourself

i’m tired of having to say that drug users should be at the centre of this and set the terms. that shouldnt need to be said. meet us where we’re at. catch up.

a public discussion is itself a process of decriminalization, since the goal is for drug users to simply be part of the public! boring regular people – rather than Those People. that’s the goal.

as long as users continue to be Those People, our deaths (and lives) aren’t real and nothing will change.

we need new strategies. we need to learn from other campaigns. what we have been doing has not been effective enough. we need to catch up.

we don’t want compassion : we need identification. we need the public to see themselves in us, to identify with us. not a brother, cousin, mother, or son. themselves.

we need to do what we can to bridge that gap too.