Stimulus Connect

What is Stimulus Connect

Stimulus Connect is not just another webinar, it is an opportunity for Canadian stakeholders in harm reduction and drug policy to come together, learn and network on specific topics. We strive to provide an online space where authentic connections are made on issues that affect us all. In addition to pulling together key contacts to discuss the topic we also gather related journal articles, resources, media and tools and provide these resources along with the #StimulusConnect recording on our website.

#StimulusConnect topics are curated in consultation with the Stimulus National Implementation and Planning (SNIP) Committee and their Executive Committee. A group of key stakeholders are then brought together to collaboratively plan the content, speakers and methods of each event. As with other Stimulus program activities we work from a framework of Nothing About Us Without Us. Stimulus Connects include English/French simultaneous interpretation.

Impact of the Pandemic on People Who Use Drugs

Part 2 on March 24, 2021

#StimulusConnect 11

Canada was experiencing a massive wave of overdoses, but with 2020 came the COVID-19 pandemic which made unprecedented impact on people’s lives. There are changes to the illegal drug market and even higher rates of overdoses, changes to income and material security and the lack of ability to physically distance. People are living through reduced access to technology and services, and feeling increased isolation, criminalization and homelessness. COVID-19 has brought Canada pandemic prescribing and specialized shelters instead of the needed safe supply and permanent housing. 

Public health in Canada responded dramatically to the COVID-19 crisis and not the overdose crisis. Join us for the Impact of the Pandemic on People Who Use Drugs: Part 2 as we connect.

  1. Listen: The highest homicide and hate crime rates in the country. Why does it all happen here? THUNDER BAY: A Canadaland podcast
  2. Thread: @CoreyRanger speaks to the 1 year anniversary Victoria BC’s homeless encampments and the pandemic.
  3. Report: Best Brains Exchange proceedings report: Strengthening the structural determinants of health post-COVID-19, March 16, 2021
  4. Report: The health of people in Canada was inequitable before COVID-19, March 16, 2021
  5. Report: Provisional death counts and excess mortality, January to December 2020, Stats Canada, March 10, 2021
  6. Read: Quebec’s Curfew a Public Health Threat for People Who Use Drugs, February 22, 2021
  7. Report: No Turning Back: Canadian Bar Association Task Force Report on Justice Issues Arising from COVID-19, February 17, 202
  8. Read: SFU gender and health equity researchers discuss sex work inequities during COVID-19. Findings show that sex workers are disproportionately affected due to criminalization. February 15, 2021
  9. Read: How has COVID-19 impacted the delivery of STBBI-related services, including harm reduction services, in Canada? February 8, 2021
  10. Read: Less Money, More Danger: How the Pandemic Changed Sex Work. Lower demand and guest restrictions at many downtown buildings have pushed outdoor sex workers into scarier situations. February 1, 2021
  11. Journal Article: The drug war must end: The right to life, liberty and security of the person during the COVID-19 pandemic for people who use drugs, February 17, 2021
  12. Read: Study finds increased risk of hospitalization but not death in people with hepatitis C virus who have COVID-19
  13. Journal Article: Restricting Freedom of Peaceful Assembly During Public Health Emergencies, 2021
  14. Watch: On Politics: The Future of Civic Engagement by Andrea Reimer, 2020
  1. Referrals related to overdose prevention
    1. National options
      1. Overdose Training and Naloxone for people who are First Nations, Inuit & Indigenous or Veteran: Naloxone Care
      2. Brave app and other products
      3. National Overdose Response Service (NORS)
    2. PEERS Alliance in PEI is starting a Overdose Prevention Line
    3. In Hamilton/Peel, Ontario Safer Use Peer Support Line 1-888-233-5633
    4. In British Columbia: The Lifeguard app
  2. Alberta related content included:
    1. Alberta’s iOAT challenge
    2. Alberta Health Services has even changed their “Harm Reduction” policy and has removed the terms harm reduction from it, in line with the government to continue to promote abstinent based programming
    3. Video shows Edmonton police forcing group into extreme cold
    4. A growing collective of businesses has started a group to support harm reduction. Each + Every is on twitter @eachandeveryco1
  3. BC related content included:
    1. First Nations Health Authority has developed some videos on vaccine hesitation, by and for Indigenous people
    2. First Nations Data Release Media Event
    3. Toward the Heart: Take Home Naloxone Sites
    4. How the Province is Responding
    5. Harm Reduction for Families and Caregivers
    6. Media Reports Getting cut off safe supply prescription was like a ‘slap in the face,’ says Vancouver woman  2020 was B.C.’s deadliest year ever for drug overdoses, coroner says    Here’s how B.C. will spend $1.5 billion to help the economy recover amid the pandemic      Opioid Crisis: Paramedics in BC continue to be called to an incredibly high number of overdoses across the province      One-on-one with Dr. Bonnie Henry on B.C.’s overdose crisis
  4. New Brunswick: New recovery centre in Fredericton for people with addictions
  5. Ontario related content included:
    1. Petition: Funding for Black, Indigenous and 2SLGBTQ+ Communities 
    2. Paramedics attend a record 40 suspected opioid overdose calls, 3 deaths in 24 hours
  6. PEI: Lucy Maud Montgomery’s agonizing drug addiction Diaries show the disastrous extent of the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ author’s addiction to prescription drugs, as well as parallels to our modern-day opioid crisis
  7. Quebec: COVID-19, curfews and the overdose crisis: A Quebec perspective
  1. Survey you can complete: The impact of the overdose crisis on harm reduction service providers in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic
  2. Policy Brief: Correctional Services During and Beyond COVID-19, January 26, 2021
  3. Watch: The Ontario overdose crisis and the impact of COVID-19
  4. Watch: #StimulusConnect 2: COVID-19’s affect on the Canadian drug market
  5. Watch: The Effects of COVID-19 on the Illegal Drug Supply, August 19, 2020
  6. Watch: Drug use and harm reduction during COVID-19, May 12, 2020
  7. Media: SFU gender and health equity researchers discuss sex work inequities during COVID-19, February 15, 2021
  8. Media: Pandemic worsening opioid crisis, January 28, 2021
  9. Media: Kelowna frontline worker juggles own mental health, pandemic restrictions and overdose crisis, January 23, 2021
  10. Media: Quebec curfew putting lives at risk as safe injection sites sit empty, January 18, 2021
  11. Media: What Surging Fentanyl Use Among OAT Patients Says About the Pandemic, January 5, 2021
  12. Media: How COVID-19 created a ‘steady spike’ of opioid-related deaths in Peel, October 18, 2020
  13. Media: COVID-19 Outbreak Worsening Overdose Crisis – Health Minister Hajdu, October 16, 2020
  14. Media: Pandemic is creating a new type of homelessness, says outreach worker, October 12, 2020
  15. Resource: Health Canada toolkit: COVID-19 and substance use
  16. Resource: COVID-19 Pandemic National Rapid Guidance, 6 national guidance documents including:
    1. Supporting people who use substances in shelter settings during the COVID‑19 pandemic
    2. Medications and other clinical approaches to support physical distancing for people who use substances during the COVID-19 pandemic
    3. Supporting people who use substances in acute care settings during the COVID-19 pandemic
  17. Resource: National Rapid Guidance and Projects Related to COVID-19 Webinar Slides, February 5, 2021
  18. Resource: Modelling opioid overdose deaths during the COVID-19 outbreak
  19. Resource: Rapid Review: What is the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on opioid and substance use and related harms? 2020
    1. Additional Rapid Reviews are also available
  20. Resource: Changes to health, access to health services, and the ability to meet financial obligations among Indigenous people with long-term conditions or disabilities since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic
  21. Resource: How the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting people who use drugs, April 2020
  22. Website: Impacts of COVID-19 on Substance Use by CCSA. This webpage also links to a range of webinars
  1. Media: What Really Happened to Britain’s Drug Supply During the First Lockdown? A survey by drug information charity Release reveals existing stashes kept trade going during last year’s lockdown in Britain – and that many dealers practised social distancing and wore masks and gloves.  February 24, 2021
  2. Journal Article: Adapting harm reduction services during COVID-19: lessons from the supervised injecting facilities in Australia, February 17, 2021
  3. Report: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the non-government alcohol and other drug sector: future implications. Drug Policy Modelling Program Monograph No. 34, January, 2021
  4. Media: How drug dealers are working and selling in the coronavirus lockdown, May 8, 2020

(Part 1, February 18)

If you are not bilingual you may find value in accessing this alternative audio recording of the simultaneous interpretation. This recording is 17 seconds (0.17) earlier than the video.

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Previous Stimulus Connects

Naloxone kits arranged on a table
A sign reading "defund the police"


Stimulus: Drugs, Policy and Practice in Canada is a program of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition. Sign up to their newsletter for updates on this program as well as their other work