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Larger-than-life banner unveiled in downtown Victoria for toxic drug supply awareness (PHOTOS/VIDEO)

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In 2022, nearly 2,300 people died in BC in connection with the toxic drug supply crisis — Greater Victoria recorded 157 deaths.

To raise awareness, Our Place Society unveiled a three-storey banner on the front of its Pandora Avenue homebase.

The banner was motivated by the staggeringly high numbers of deaths related to drug poisoning over the last several years. In a press conference on Wednesday, February 15th, Our Place Society’s Board Chair, Margo Goodhand made a statement.

(Colin Smith Takes Pics)
(Our Place Society)

“We have lost so many family members, friends and neighbors in the past year,” said Goodhand. “With Our Place staff and volunteers on the front line of this toxic drug crisis, the grief and daily trauma really hits hard.

“When the board heard about four deaths in just one week last fall, we asked CEO Julian Daly if anything could be done in a more public way to remember those we have lost, to acknowledge these staggering losses, and put a human face on this issue.

“Our Place worked for weeks with family members on this memorial project, and the board stands behind it — and them — with respect, remembering those we have lost and continue to lose in this crisis.”

The banner depicts the purple ribbon that is now synonymous with remembrance of loved ones lost to drug poisoning along with the heartfelt message from the Our Place staff, “we lost a family member today — we remember all those who have lost their lives to overdose and toxic drugs.”

Although possessing small amounts of certain drugs have now been decriminalized in an effort to reduce stigma and have more people test their drugs prior to using them, many people believe this is only a small step toward a meaningful difference in the numbers of fatalities related to drug poisoning. 

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Curtis Blandy
curtis@victoriabuzz.com

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