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Addiction and mental illness in Victoria


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#1761 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 19 August 2022 - 04:42 AM

Just hours after health officials issued a warning about a spike in drug poisoning in Greater Victoria, 49-year-old Chris Schwede was found dead from a suspected toxic drug poisoning Thursday morning in his tent on Pandora Avenue.

“I can’t even find the words. My brother just died, and he should not have died,” said Chris’ sister Candice Csaky.

Support workers believe Csaky’s brother Schwede was killed by an increasingly unpredictable toxic drug supply.

“This overdose seems to be coming from this new turquoise rock that hit the streets just this past week that contains all sorts of horrible ingredients that are leading to almost instantaneous death for people,” said Grant McKenzie, communications director of Our Place.

https://www.cheknews...ctoria-1078117/



I continue to believe that a solution might be to just develop a remote detox centre. I’m still convinced that most opioid addicts can have a complete cold-turkey end, yes with excruciating withdrawal, but with little health effects of that drastic withdrawal. I don’t see evidence otherwise. Yes, they may relapse days, weeks or months later. But I think this might be a good route for many.

Edited by Victoria Watcher, 19 August 2022 - 04:46 AM.

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#1762 Mike K.

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Posted 19 August 2022 - 06:01 AM

I saw the alert. I figured it was just a generic reminder.

They really need to make them more descriptive, rather than just say something to the tune of “bad drugs are in the community.” Aren’t they always?

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#1763 Nparker

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Posted 19 August 2022 - 07:49 AM

Closing Riverview and similar facilities was the worst thing to have done for the mentally ill. We essentially threw those suffering with severe mental health issues onto the street and expected everything would work out for them somehow.
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#1764 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 19 August 2022 - 12:37 PM

What a world we live in. How about cops stop the trafficking, and users think twice about using?





It’s more a question of when rather than if.

RCMP Sgt. Kevin Shaw, head of the Sooke detachment, said a new highly toxic drug mix has been reported in the Capital Region but hasn’t yet been seen in Sooke.

Since drugs don’t respect borders, Shaw said it will only be a matter of time before it does.


https://www.vicnews....t-say-mounties/





And if some people die, so be it. A lot of users are a waste of skin, quite frankly. Won’t be particularly missed, for the most part.

Edited by Victoria Watcher, 19 August 2022 - 12:39 PM.


#1765 Nparker

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Posted 19 August 2022 - 12:51 PM

It's tragic that so long into this "crisis", the powers that be can't come up with anything better than keeping people addicted for life with a "safe" drug supply. How is this an improvement over the mental institutions of the past?


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#1766 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 19 August 2022 - 12:53 PM

Luckily we declared that opioid emergency more than 6 years ago (April 2016).

Edited by Victoria Watcher, 19 August 2022 - 12:55 PM.


#1767 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 19 August 2022 - 01:21 PM

How is this an improvement over the mental institutions of the past?


It employs a whole new set of poverty pimps. “Lived experience” is all you need to get the union job. Was higher qualifications in the past.

#1768 Nparker

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Posted 19 August 2022 - 01:27 PM

While the old school mental health "institutions" were perhaps not ideal, at least they offered safely administered drugs, medical attention, food, beds and shelter from the elements, none of which the current system seems to be able to provide adequately or appropriately. 


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#1769 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 19 August 2022 - 01:28 PM

All in the name of dignity.

#1770 Nparker

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Posted 19 August 2022 - 01:37 PM

And self-determination.



#1771 pontcanna

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Posted 21 August 2022 - 12:36 AM

Obituary: Paige Phillips was a fierce advocate for drug users

A street worker who fought for better treatment for drug users, Paige Phillips was killed by B.C.'s tainted illicit drug supply
 
Aug 20, 2022
 

paige.png

 

Paige Phillips dared to go where others were too scared to go.

As an outspoken advocate for harm-reduction services and end-of-life care, she was a bridge to Victoria’s marginalized, street-entrenched community.

“I think that’s where she found her home,” said a University of Victoria nursing professor, Kelli Stajduhar, who worked with the 32-year-old to develop a standard of palliative care that social workers across the province now use.

“She saw what was happening, witnessing so many of her friends from the street go into hospitals with infections, cancer or overdoses and them not getting good care. So, she went to the ER with them.”

Last week, Phillips became one of more than 10,000 British Columbians who has fatally overdosed since a public health emergency was declared in April 2016 due to increasingly toxic street drugs.

The father of her two daughters, Jack Phillips, says if the province widened its scope of safe supply, her life might have been saved.

“Paige is part of a huge group of people whom B.C.’s doctor-prescribed model of safe supply doesn’t help,” said her ex-husband, who worked for years alongside Phillips at the SOLID Outreach Society.

“In the end, it was dangerous street drugs that killed her.”

The couple, who met on the East coast of Canada, moved to Victoria a decade ago with a plan to help others with substance-use disorder. They started at a small peer-based nonprofit.

Friday, a GoFundMe page raised close to $5,500 for her two children, ages five and eight.
 

 



#1772 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 21 August 2022 - 01:07 AM

Maybe don’t do street drugs?

#1773 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 21 August 2022 - 04:51 AM

Both women feel the messaging about illicit drug use is misguided. They believe that instead of telling people how to use drugs safely, they should be telling them not to use.

“The way the whole system is set up — the tents out there and allowing drug use is not helping anybody,” Trausch said, gesturing at the encampment. “It’s making it easier for people to carry on in that life. And it’s not a life. They’re like walking zombies on that street.”

Csaky drove by Schwede’s tent every day needing to know he was safe. In the last months of his life, his tent caught fire and his hands were badly burned. He was struck by a car as he cycled along the bike lanes on Douglas Street. When he was taken to the emergency room at Royal Jubilee Hospital, there wasn’t even a chair for him to sit in, Csaky said.

Although many advocate for safe supply, neither woman believe it’s the answer to the opioid crisis.

“People will cut their safe supply with things that are not safe and you still have the problems of overdose. Or they will sell the clean stuff because they will get more money for it and buy the stuff that the dealers are selling,” Csaky said.

“There’s no such thing as safe supply because Chris was on safe supply and he’s in a morgue right now,” Trausch added. “We needed to get to the root cause of why he had an addiction. Where was his pain coming from that he can’t address. Where’s the trauma?”


https://www.timescol...his-own-5721904

Edited by Victoria Watcher, 21 August 2022 - 04:51 AM.


#1774 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 21 August 2022 - 04:55 AM

So the previous stories on this death did not cover the stance of the sisters on safe supply vs. abstinence. In fact the CTV one might even be a bit misleading:



My brother just died and he should not have died," Csaky said. "COVID isn’t the pandemic we need to be afraid of in this country. This is the pandemic. People dying on this street every single day."

'A CLEAN SUPPLY WOULD HAVE SAVED HIS LIFE'

The Our Place Society spokesperson says access to a safe and tested supply of street drugs would have prevented Thursday morning's death, and others like it.
"A clean supply would save lives today," McKenzie said. "It's not the ultimate answer, but it would have saved this life today. Around me you saw the devastation of his family members, people who cared for this young man. A clean supply would have saved his life."

https://beta.ctvnews...033094.amp.html



Grant McKenzie, this person was not a “young man”. He was 49 and likely had plenty of opportunities to turn his life around. And failed many times. By all accounts he’s been a cocaine / crack addict for 30 years.

He had caring family members, but for whatever reason he was still living in a tent.

Edited by Victoria Watcher, 21 August 2022 - 05:00 AM.


#1775 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 21 August 2022 - 05:34 AM

“He’d tell me: ‘Candi, I’m saving lives. I’m saving lives. These people need help and if I’m not here, I can’t help them,’ ” Csaky recalled. “He saved a life the day before he died. But I wanted him to save himself first. The only life he couldn’t save was his own.”

The 49-year-old’s death came in the wake of drug alerts from Island Health and Our Place Society about xylazine, a veterinary sedative being added to the already poisoned illicit drug supply. Our Place said it had responded to several difficult overdoses and that many were experiencing severe psychosis on the strong new drug, known as Turquoise Down.





It’s also very possible, that while often high on crack cocaine, his vision of his life-saving purpose was detached from a sober reality.

https://www.timescol...his-own-5721904

#1776 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 21 August 2022 - 05:36 AM

Schwede, who started using cocaine at 18, became addicted to crack cocaine. He had long stretches of being healthy but his addiction grew more entrenched in the past six years.

“He wanted help and we wanted to help. Everyone felt helpless,” Trausch said. “He needed someone to get him on the right path, but nothing was available. There was no direction for us to point him to.”

Schwede would have gone to treatment, said Csaky, who had helped him with his résumé last year when he wanted to get off the streets and get back to work. “There was nothing he loved more than family, especially his daughter.”

___________

"He came to me multiple times in the last year and said he was done with this life. He was going to get a job," Csaky told CTV News. "He was offered a job and he was supposed to start on Monday but he relapsed on the weekend because he didn't have support systems in place."



I don’t know. We hear an awful lot of “he/she was about to turn his/her life around”. I’m sure it’s a positive hope for the family, but is it based on any kind of reality? This guy was 49. Started using 31 years ago. Was the job he was offered - last week - going to end all that? I suspect not.

Edited by Victoria Watcher, 21 August 2022 - 05:39 AM.


#1777 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 21 August 2022 - 05:41 AM

“He wanted help and we wanted to help. Everyone felt helpless,” Trausch said. “He needed someone to get him on the right path, but nothing was available. There was no direction for us to point him to.”



There are private facilities willing to take patients today - for a fee.

Edited by Victoria Watcher, 21 August 2022 - 05:41 AM.


#1778 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 21 August 2022 - 06:00 AM

Evelyn was helping the loved ones of the deceased by printing out photos of Schwede and his partner—who is planning a memorial—when I met her. She requested to be anonymous, stating she could lose her job as Our Place Society does not allow workers to speak up without going through their communications director.


https://www.capitald...nimal-sedatives



So much for transparency.

Edited by Victoria Watcher, 21 August 2022 - 06:00 AM.


#1779 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 21 August 2022 - 06:01 AM

This is the first I heard the man had “a partner”.


CTV News reported that Schwede was found dead in his tent alongside a sample of a drug, believed to be laced with an animal sedative, that has been making the rounds in Victoria this week.

As I sat with them that afternoon, Schwede’s partner noticed a bylaw officer trying to clear away her dead boyfriend’s belongings which lay on a grassy section of the sidewalk.

“Leave that alone!” she told him, as people around her chimed in, telling the officer they would clear it up later. The bylaw officer paid no heed to them—until he was informed that someone had just died.

#1780 Barrrister

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Posted 21 August 2022 - 06:30 AM

At the risk of repeating myself for the twentieth time, we are totally ignoring the completely established and proven science behind long term drug addiction. The simple fact of the matter is that we are dealing with seriously damaged brains particularly in the dopamine center along with the part of the brain that does risk evaluation. The damage is extensive to the point of being clearly visible on Cat Scans. Personally I prefer the opinions of John Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, U of T medical and McGill along with a host of actual scientific researchers to the opinions of a bunch of sociology grads from UVic (who coincidentally are creating jobs for themselves).

 

These poor souls need to be institutionalized for an extended period until their actual physical brains heal if they are to have any real chance of recovery. In many cases we are talking years and tragically in some cases the damage might be so extensive that they may never recouver fully. What we are doing now is totally inhuman to let these poor souls suffer and die on the street. 


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