Photo by Jeff Bierk
Housing is a human right, however…
“It’s estimated that 1500 people sleep outside in Toronto as the result of a housing crisis that saw 102,049 households waitlisted for social housing in 2019 and over 9000 people homeless” – Encampment Support Network (E.S.N.) Toronto
Housing instability and the lack of shelter resources continue to be a violent factor to marginalized folks living in the city. From locally to globally, harm reduction values and practices are both necessary and essential while reaching towards safer and stable housing for all. Not to mention the restrictions or stigmatizations against substance use often turn people who use drugs away from community housing and shelters altogether. Especially, according to E.S.N. Toronto, “as of June 5 there were 14 current COVID-19 outbreaks and 528 confirmed cases in shelters. 4 People have died. In the encampments that have been tested for COVID-19, there were zero cases.” Housing is a human right, and it should not be at the compromise of any person’s dignity, autonomy, or survival. This pandemic should be a reminder of how much care we all deserve and not an opportunity for anyone to be left behind.
With the stay at home order, social isolation, prolonged stress and employment loss- it is no surprise that substance use may be more prevalent during this time. We’ll cover some of the data that was collected by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) in the earlier months of the pandemic. The CCSA asked over 1000 respondents during April of 2020, about their alcohol and cannabis use habits/rates.
Rates of, and demographics of use:
Winter is upon us and whatever holidays you celebrate or markers of time passing you acknowledge, there is usually an element of traditions, gathering with loved ones, special food and gift or token giving involved. All of that will look somewhat different this year, there’s no doubt about that, and there are still many options for connecting with each other and reflecting on the previous year.
What are some Activities you can do with low/no risk?
This post will give an overview of what harm reduction is, and why it’s so important now, during a pandemic. We will talk about how ‘substance, set & setting’ have changed, the factors leading to increased overdose risks, options for socially distant drug deals, and how to plan for involuntary withdrawal.