PEOPLE NEEDING ADDICTION SERVICES FEELING ‘ABANDONED’
“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.