May 31, 2010
Abbotsford Council may consider harm reduction programs
On June 7 Abbotsford City Council will vote whether to approve a staff review of options for harm reduction endeavours - specifically a needle exchange program - in the community. If Council approves the review, then a series of public meetings will follow.
See article in the Vancouver Province newspaper.
May 19, 2010
Abbotsford's drug users plan to march on city hall today with coffins and a 'die-in' to draw attention to the consequences of an Abbotsford bylaw that advocates say does more harm than good.
More harm than good
Mobile needle truck could beat city bylaw
By Christina Toth, The Times May 18, 2010
The city's 'harm reduction-free' bylaw runs counter to accepted public health policies and puts the general community at risk, said Ann Livingston with the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU).
"If you want to spread disease, you would not want to have a needle exchange. It's mean-spirited and odd. It defies logic," she said.
The rally today also marks World Hepatitis Day, May 19. Abbotsford has the third highest rate of Hepatitis C in British Columbia, and B.C.'s rate of Hep C is double the national rate, she said.
"Hepatitis C in spread by blood-to-blood contact only, and is completely preventable," said Livingstone. The city's bylaw is "irresponsible" by preventing harm reduction measures to address the public health issue, she said.
The 2003 bylaw bans needle exchanges, injection sites, freestanding methadone clinics and mobile clinics from setting up shop in the city. The mayor at the time, Mary Reeves, said such services would attract drugs users from other communities and dealers looking for clients.
Spurred on by-then Abbotsford MP Randy White, Reeves and the councillors, which included current mayor George Peary, unanimously declared the city "unequivocally opposed" to harm reduction strategies, even though it went counter to policies held by the Fraser Health Authority and the Lower Mainland Municipal Association.
Peary said at the time he didn't buy the idea that harm reduction gets users closer to treatment.
"What they're doing is extending the harm, the pathological behavior. As a society we can't allow this to happen," he said.
Even though needle exchanges are banned from the city, last August Fraser Health authorized Barry Shantz of the B.C./Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors to distribute needles in Abbotsford.
"Each month the [B.C.] Centre for Disease Control delivers thousands of needles to a location, I pick them up and put the boxes in my van, and then cruise the streets and back alleys [to deliver clean needles to the city's drug users]," said Shantz.
The bylaw makes no sense from a public health perspective, he said. Shantz added that people around the world look to Vancouver to see how it delivers harm reduction options in its Downtown Eastside, and they'd be surprised to learn "that just one hour away there is a community that promotes harm."
- The rally starts at 2 p.m. outside Abbotsford City Hall, at 32315 South Fraser Way.
February 6, 2010
Here's a bunch of photos taken at the Pacific Summit last summer 2009.
If you have any photos you'd like to add to this selection, please email them to
To view the photos, please click here
January 24, 2010
Updated versions of the Constitution and Bylaws of the B.C. / Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors. These documents will be submitted as part of our application for registered non-profit society status.
BCYADWS Constitution - revised January 2010
BCYADWS Bylaws - revised January 2010
January 21, 2010
Article and video coverage of Penny's memorial in the Abbotsford News. Read here
January 17, 2010
Memorial Service for Penny Jodway to be held in Abbotsford on January 19th.
January 07, 2010
Bud Osborn reading a poem at the Pacific Summit on Drug Users Health, Vancouver, June 12, 2009.
Bud Osborn at Drug Users Health Summit from vandu on Vimeo.November 26, 2009
Cocaine cut with crap - Levamisole (pig and hog de-worming substance) - has been causing sickness to cocaine injectors in Alberta and B.C. Cocaine Cutting Agents - Do You Know What You're Doing? is a copy of a presentation about Cocaine Cutting Agents made by a medical researcher to the 11th International Congress on Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Toxicology.
September 25, 2009
Harm Reduction Victoria is holding a public forum on October 1st to discuss the issues of needle exchange, supervised consumption and how harm reduction services contribute to safer communities. Currently Victoria is without a fixed needle exchange program because a portion of the downtown has been red-zone for harm reduction services (i.e. harm reduction services are not allowed in that area).
Please download the event poster here
September 8, 2009
BC / Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors now has a Social Networking site and a Facebook Group.
Please visit and register and let us know what's going on in your neck of the woods.
August 3, 2009
Shaylee Perez, "VANDU unites drug users, establishes platform," The Other Place, August 3, 2009. Read online
June 26, 2009
Paul Fountaine, "City bylaw comes under fire", Abbotsford Mission Times, June 26, 2009. Read online