PEO­PLE NEED­ING AD­DIC­TION SER­VICES FEEL­ING ‘ABAN­DONED’

Vancouver Sun - - PAN­DEMIC -

“Folks are re­ally iso­lated, re­ally aban­doned,” says Jen Ko of South Riverdale Com­mu­nity Health Cen­tre in Toronto, be­cause some of the nine over­dose preven­tion and su­per­vised con­sump­tion sites have seen their hours cut, at least one be­cause of COVID-19 among staff. Sus­pended drop-in and meal pro­grams also hurt, Ko says, while “a lot of the things peo­ple come for are the hu­man ser­vices, the con­ver­sa­tion and sup­port, but be­ing in PPE (means) no­body can tell who is who.” While B.C. is try­ing to bol­ster ad­dic­tion care through a phone line of doc­tors, nurses and phar­ma­cists, the needy are of­ten street-en­trenched and with­out ac­cess to de­vices. In Van­cou­ver, vis­its to su­per­vised in­jec­tion sites have dropped by half, likely be­cause of worry of ex­po­sure to COVID-19. The al­ter­na­tive is to use drugs alone, which is dan­ger­ous.

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