Our Aspirations

Through love and compassion, we are compelled to respond to the preventable deaths of people in our community. We fear that people have become accustomed to an intolerable situation, but we refuse to accept the current crisis as normal or inevitable. Solutions to this epidemic are beyond the capacity of any one person, organization, so we call upon our neighbours, friends, and family to coordinate a community response. Our membership includes people with lived experience, Indigenous individuals and organizations, frontline workers, impacted families and supportive community members. 

We speak the truth about the harm of stigma and shame, affirm the dignity and human rights of people who use(d) drugs and take action to end this crisis and the failed war on drugs. Due to the historical and ongoing process of colonization, Indigenous communities are disproportionately impacted by overdose & the war on drugs while being underrepresented in positions and systems of power and decision making – including our own network.

We Acknowledge:

We Acknowledge that our lives and work take place on Indigenous Territories primarily on the lands of the Lekwungen speaking Songhees and Esquimalt nations and also on the territory of the Malahat, Pacheedaht, Pauquachin, Scia’new, Tsartlip, Tsawout, Tseycum and T’Sou-ke First Nations. 

We Acknowledge that the lack of services and presence of wait times and barriers in place of access to mental health and substance use services is unacceptable. Human beings have a right to receive quality, publicly & sustainably funded mental health and substance use services in a dignified, culturally safe and timely manner. 

We Acknowledge that the war on drugs is a war on the people who use drugs. 

We Acknowledge that while overdose and the war on drugs can impact anyone, all communities have not been impacted equally. We recognize that the war on drugs emerged in a highly racialized context and has disproportionately impacted Indigenous peoples, communities of colour, and people of low to moderate incomes. We acknowledge the need of our network to better represent the faces of those most impacted by the war on drugs.  

We Believe: 

We Believe that the war on people who use drugs has caused tremendous harm to our communities. This includes death, homelessness, stigma, shame, isolation, poverty, incarceration, HIV, HCV, the denial of medical services and an overreliance on police and punitive responses to health & community issues.  

We Believe in the strength of people who have experienced the war on drugs and the strength of those who love them. We recognize the transformational power that stories have to change hearts and minds. 

We Believe that our network draws resilience from both the diversity of our membership, as well as from the diverse and dynamic strategies through which we advocate, educate, create change, save lives and end the war on drugs. 

We Believe in resisting the normalization of overdose. We believe that one death that could have been prevented is one death too many. 

We Act: 

We Act by learning and unlearning from each other, embracing humility and striving to be heart centred in our work. We know that the ongoing processes of colonization and oppression are too often replicated in social movements, including our own. We commit that we can and must do better. 

We Act by sharing stories, resources, research and response strategies with our peers, the public and with decision makers. 

We Act by taking up space, contributing to political & social discourse, shaping and sharing participatory, community based research and engaging in direct action. 

We Envision: 

We Envision a world in which people are not criminalized because of their drug use. All individuals have a right to exist in public space, engage in the community, live in dignified housing and free of poverty. 

We Envision the universal access to respectful, evidence based and culturally safe healthcare regardless of past or present relationships with substance use. 

We Envision the public education system as partners in facilitating honest and open discussions to fight stigma, support mental health, provide harm reduction education and prevent overdose.

We Envision an end to the stigmatization of and discrimination towards people who use(d) drugs. 

We Envision the end of the war on drugs and in its place, community, relationships, dignity, justice and the presence of a peer driven safe supply led by people with lived experience of drug use.

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