By Amy Smart / CBC
Organizers of a Vancouver compassion club say they will continue to distribute tested cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine despite a rejection from Health Canada, calling it the only way to save lives in the face of a toxic drug supply.
Eris Nyx, co-founder of the Drug User Liberation Front (DULF) — a collective of advocacy groups working to ensure a safe supply of drugs — said regulating the illicit supply is the answer to stopping drug toxicity deaths, which have topped 10,000 in British Columbia since the province declared a public health emergency more than six years ago.
"These people are our friends, our community members, people we love, people we care about very deeply and we're losing them every day. And the driving cause of these deaths is the deregulated and unpredictable illicit drug market,'' Nyx said Wednesday.
Nyx spoke at a news conference marking International Overdose Awareness Day, saying the groups are also seeking a judicial review of the Health Canada decision, on the basis that it didn't consider charter rights to life and equality.
DULF and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users requested the temporary Criminal Code exemption from Health Canada to operate a compassion club model for hard drugs last year. It was rejected July 29.
Nonetheless, Nyx said the Cocaine, Heroin and Methamphetamine Compassion Club and Fulfilment Centre has operated for one month, distributing 201 grams of drugs with no overdoses or deaths.