People with lived experience of addiction are helping an Ontario city tackle its overdose crisis – CBC

A network of workers offer peer support and harm reduction in 6 small communities

Oct 03, 2022

Parked in front of a trap house where people often go to use drugs, Shauna Pinkerton rifles through her trunk, putting together a bag of harm-reduction supplies.

Pinkerton had used substances for decades and is now on her own journey of recovery from addiction.

She knows people in that house are going to use whether she’s there or not. So Pinkerton said she’d rather they have clean supplies, to prevent the spread of disease, and access to naloxone, a life-saving drug that temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

The illicit drug supply is becoming more toxic and unpredictable right across northern Ontario, like many parts of Canada, and experts say it’s leading to more overdoses and more deaths.

But unlike other, larger communities, Pinkerton’s hometown of Dryden — a city of 7,400 people located 300 kilometres west of Thunder Bay — doesn’t have important resources like an emergency shelter, a detox centre or a safe injection site.

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