Tuesday, August 25, 2020

COVID responses in British Columbia

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of the least of these” Matthew 10:42

In a hot climate, a cup of cold water must have been a rare treat. I wonder what is a cup of cold water in the Pandemic in my context? I am a Canadian Anglican Deacon in Victoria, British Columbia.

Here, COVID has caused 195 deaths. Yet overdose deaths have climbed in the pandemic reaching a peak of 710 deaths as of June 2020. In June alone there were 175 deaths. We have more than one crisis. We have learned to social distance, wear masks and sanitize/wash our hands, but when the topic of a realistic, non-prohibition style response to substance use is raised, there is great resistance.  Might the cup of “cold water” be legal safe drugs? Could the cup of “cold water” be free alcohol to prevent painful nerve shattering withdrawal?

Hope and recovery walk hand in hand but the battle with addiction in times of isolation is difficult. Recovery at the best of times is complex. How can we offer nurture? People need the basics, safe secure housing, food security and respect. In recovery this is crucial along with access to treatment, supervised injection sites, safe available drug/medication supply.  They need supportive relationships as do their families who are further isolated by stigma.

We offer trauma informed yoga, online weekly meditations on scripture and the AA 12 steps, prayers, 5th steps, education/awareness, conversation, advocacy for change, information on community resources; from online AA meetings, to agencies who specialize in substance use needs. Our staff and volunteers from the congregation participated in the 3rd overdose prevention Naloxone training. We are working to offer a cup of “cold water” in Pandemic times.

Rev. Canon Nancy E. Ford, Director of Deacons

Deacon to the City out of Christ Church Cathedral,

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