Press Release: Dual Pandemics

Office of the Executive Director
May 4, 2020
VANCOUVER, BC – Together We Can recognizes that the Province of British Columbia is fighting dual pandemics. Since March 11, 2020, the Provincial Health Authority has reported 114 deaths caused by COVID-19, while we experienced 72 suspected drug overdose deaths in January 2020 alone. This is a 9% rise in illicit drug related deaths over December 2019. The hardest hit population is those aged 40 – 59, followed by 19 – 39 years old. The total number of deaths in the last 5 years has totaled 5000 people. These numbers indicate that we are losing our youth and young adults at an alarming rate.

Brothers and sisters, sons and daughters are the casualties of a preventable and treatable disease. This disease not only affects the user, but has a ripple effect through the families, emergency response systems, medical facilities, the BC Coroner’s office, law enforcement, front-line workers and social services. Between April 16th – 30th, there have been 16 reported overdose deaths on the Downtown East Side along with unofficial reports of 2 positive cases of COVID-19. It is our opinion that the Downtown East Side will become a cluster of positive cases, resulting in an extended need
for emergency and medical intervention.

While the province focuses its sight, manpower and efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and support the vulnerable populations that this virus effects, however there are fewer services now available in the DTES and social/physical distancing is near impossible. There are still viable, alternate
solutions to helping those who are still afflicted by addiction. Many drug and alcohol treatment centres, under the direction and supervision of their respective health authorities have continued to provide housing, counselling and abstinence-based therapies. In response to the COIVD-19 outbreak, Together We Can immediately tightened and restricted its intake procedures, resident movement, outside visitation and sanitization procedures. Robust restrictions are being followed by residents, volunteers and staff alike. Executive Director, Mr. Stacy Wilson is quoted as saying “It takes a strong team, cooperation, determination and perseverance to remain an active part of the solution in both of BC’s dual pandemics. Organizations, such as TWC are poised to continue being a safe, supportive
and engaging service provider to the addict and their loved ones.”

Our society is proud to report that we have had no cases of COVID-19 and have implemented an industry leading pre-admission screening process that has helped to ensure the safety, health and well-being of anyone in contact with our organization.

Download the release here: Press Release

David Penny

David Penny is Together We Can's Marketing and Media coordinator. Learn more about him & read his articles here.

Leave a Reply