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‘Immense challenge’: Trying to save the lives of B.C. drug users, hit hard by COVID-19 and the overdose crisis

Sam Gill, clinical nurse leader a the Rapid Access Addiction Centre st St. Paul's Hospital. "I think more people are struggling and need the help," Gill said (Photo credit: Vancouver Sun)
Sam Gill, clinical nurse leader a the Rapid Access Addiction Centre st St. Paul's Hospital. "I think more people are struggling and need the help," Gill said (Photo credit: Vancouver Sun)

Drug users continue to fatally overdose in record numbers, due to a poisoned street supply and pandemic restrictions. There are differing opinions on how to save their lives.

Christopher composes bluesy funk music in his notebook while waiting for treatment at an addictions clinic in St. Paul’s Hospital. He’s tired of chasing a fentanyl high and grateful for the second chance he’s being offered by the medical staff.

“I wouldn’t be alive without it,” Christopher, 40, said of the Rapid Access Addiction Centre, while sitting in its withdrawal management room. “It gives hope. It’s like a beacon of light in an otherwise dark world.”

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