Powerful By Nature - Drug Use and Harm Reduction
Guests: Frank, Street Health
Topic: Drug Use and Harm Reduction
This week, Paola hosted an episode on drug use and harm reduction. The first half of the show, focused on the overdose crisis in North America and the importance of safe injection sites and non-judgmental wraparound services for drug users. Starting off with an interview with Frank from Street Health, we learned a little bit about the history and meaning of harm reduction, or non-judgmental supports like safe injection sites intended to reduce the harm associated with drug use, and the damaging and deadly consequences of pushing abstinence on drug users. Frank talked a bit about the deadly overdose crisis, and the thousands of deaths annually in Canada from overdoses, and the important work Street Health and other advocates do at their hard fought for supervised injection sites across the city.
In the second half of the show, we talked about the legalization of marijuana for those over 19 in Canada and what youth need to know. While the federal government has announced a plan to pardon those previously criminalized for simple weed possession, the timeline and details remain to be announced. Charges for marijuana possessions have disproportionality affected racialized communities, especially black and Indigenous people. For example, a 2017 Toronto Star analysis found that black people in that city were three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than their white peers. How truly just and accessible the pardon system will be remains to be seen.
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