Advocates gathered in Downtown Vancouver Wednesday (April 14) to protest government inaction to provide a safe supply of drugs during an overdose crisis that claimed the lives of 1,724 British Columbians in 2020 alone.
Garth Mullins, the host and executive producer of the Crackdown podcast, took to Twitter to share images of demonstrators gathered in a moment of silence for the "7,000 people we've lost since 2016."
Mullins added that there was a "big line for free, safe drugs offered by Drug User Liberation Front."
.@VANDUpeople president & Crackdown ed board member Samona Marsh leads moment of silence for 7,000 people we’ve lost since 2016. Lots gathered in DTES including Crackdown, @WAHRS1 & @vancouverops. Big line for free, safe drugs offered by Drug User Liberation Front. pic.twitter.com/C4xAsEw3VM— Crackdown podcast (@crackdownpod) April 14, 2021
Action today with @vandupeople @torodtes bcyukondrugwarssurvivors, smoke signals and others! #safesupply #opiodcrisis #harmreduction #cleandrugs #joinus #indigenouslivesmatter #momsstoptheharm #werewithyou pic.twitter.com/TT4PUbdRd8— WAHRS (@WAHRS1) April 15, 2021
There looks to be a traveling protest that is causing delays on some routes in downtown, the 210's are having delays due to that. Unfortunately we do not have GPS at the moment, so I cannot track the closest one to you. ^SB— TransLink BC | Masks Mandatory (@TransLink) April 14, 2021
B.C. marks five years of opioid health emergency
April 14 marks a sobering anniversary in B.C. – five years since the overdose health emergency was proclaimed in the province.
In the past 25 years, more than 12,632 British Columbians have died of illicit drug overdoses. That’s equal to the population of the city of Terrace.
Since the 2016 emergency declaration, some 7,000 have died.
By January, an average of 5.3 people were dying daily.
"Today, we remember and grieve the thousands of people who have lost their lives in B.C. due to a toxic illicit drug supply," B.C.'s chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said.
She said overdose is the fourth highest cause of death in B.C. with the average age of death being 43.
Vancouver police arrest eight people
Eight people were arrested for mischief and obstruction in relation to two protests held at two different Downtown Vancouver buildings, explains a Vancouver police news release.
Police say the arrests followed "hours of attempted negotiation."
“Two groups of protestors chained off the main entrances and exits at both 250 Howe Street and 999 West Hastings Street,” says Constable Tania Visintin, VPD. “For several hours, officers and building managers asked them to leave as this was creating a serious safety hazard.”
Eight adults, between 22 and 38 years old, were arrested for mischief and obstruction. Police expect that they will be released from custody Wednesday pending a later court date.
--With files from Jeremy Hainsworth.