Vancouver city councillor hands out heroin during safe supply protest

Jul 15 2021, 5:24 pm

A Vancouver city councillor is in the spotlight after handing out drugs during a safe supply protest in downtown Vancouver.

On Wednesday, the Drug User Liberation Front (DULF) and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) hosted a block party in protest against the city’s model to decriminalize the simple possession of illicit drugs.

The demonstration took place in front of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) station at Main Street and Cordova. During the event, the organizations handed out clean heroin, meth, and cocaine.

Among the participants was city councillor Jean Swanson, who shared photos online of her participation in the parade, as well as distributing a package that reportedly contained heroin.

“We need government action now so everyone can get safe drugs and no one dies,” Swanson wrote in one tweet.

In another tweet, she stressed that six deaths per day from toxic drugs are “way too many.”

The move drew criticism from a wide number of people, however, including fellow city councillor Melissa De Genova who suggested that Swanson’s actions were akin to drug trafficking.

Earlier this year, the BC Coroners Service reported that 2020 was British Columbia’s worst year yet in terms of lives lost to toxic illicit drugs.

During a press conference, Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said there were 1,716 deaths due to illicit drugs in 2020 in the province, representing a 74% increase over the number of deaths recorded in 2019 (984).

The number of illicit drug toxicity deaths in 2020 equates to about 4.7 deaths per day, which is two deaths per day higher than in 2019 (2.7).

Put another way, the province said the toxic illicit drug supply in British Columbia has claimed more lives than motor-vehicle crashes, homicides, suicides, and prescription-drug-related deaths combined.

Daily Hive has reached out to Mayor Kennedy Stewart’s office for additional comment. 

Vincent PlanaVincent Plana

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