Press play to hear conversations with and among friends (best quality is with earphones):

(scroll below to view upcoming conversations)

Please Note: These conversations may contain “real” language, reflecting the experiences and frustrations of loss and delay that have affected our friends along the way.  NO RIGHTS GRANTED THESE RECORDINGS ARE THE PROPERTY OF DRUG WAR SURVIVORS ABBOTSFORD CHAPTER.



May 1 2018

Facilitator: Kiah Ashley

“You know I hate that one word they used to use all the time, marginalized…” –(jump to 13:19 to listen)

“I love Tuesdays” –(jump to 27:40 to listen)

At the end of each meeting we end with a moment of silence and if we choose, speak the name of those we lost.  –(jump to 48:15 to listen)


Drug User Groups

May 8, 2018

Guest Facilitators: The Canadian Association of people who use Drugs (CAPUD) and The Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society (WAHRS) 

“That’s the one thing about VANDU and a drug user group is that it gives you the opportunity to learn things, to do things, now I do reports and write letters…” –(jump to 28:26 to listen)

“….as soon as I was given an opportunity to be who I was and represent the people who aren’t as comfortable speaking out who they are or what they are, my drug use changed.  I didn’t have anymore shame I didn’t have any more guilt so I didn’t have anymore paranoia, I wouldn’t jones.  If I don’t have the money anymore I don’t use.  I don’t do anything for it but that’s only because I’ve had the opportunity to be a drug user group and expand on it.” –(jump to 29:00 to listen)

“Something that I’ve noticed is that doctors are not immune to stigma either. “ –(jump to 37:50 to listen)



May 22, 2018

Facilitator: Doug Smith

“…that’s the same with me you know,  he just cut me off completely because he assumed I was going to sell my pills, which turned my life into hell, right.” –(jump to 33:07 to listen)

“…you don’t just have to be homeless because something happened to me last week, some transphobic asshole attacked me and I was treated like garbage by the police because I’m not part of the status quo.” –(jump to 4:33 to listen)

“I got severe chronic, recurrent acute pancreatitis and as I grew up, my family always had a lot of money, property and what not. Well when my dad died of cancer, my stepmom went crazy and she, she lost all the money…property, everything. Well I was on a high dose of morphine for fifteen years when all that happened, I ended up going crazy myself because my dad passed away and I was all pissed off and ended up on the streets selling drugs and you know, and I ended up in jail and when I ended up in jail I got cut off. But then I ended up in the Downtown Eastside. And because, because I got cut off  I was on the street and then all of a sudden they’re kicking me out of the hospitals, security’s comin and kicking me out, they’re phoning the cops on me, you know what I mean? Like after that, I never got another prescription for morphine. Ever. And I still had a really bad acute pancreatitis. And at the time I was, I was going through an acute episodes right? Which I needed to be hospitalized for. And they just kicked me out. They did not care. They don’t care about people.” –(jump to 31:31 to listen)


Enforcement and By-law experiences

Tuesday June 5, 2018

Facilitators: Steering Committee Members  Harvey and Nick Zirowski

“…at tent city we were just starting to form a community, we were starting to act and to communicate with each other again. Whereas right now they spread us all out so we’re losing track of that and we’re trying to build this up again, within these rooms.”–(jump to 0:23 to listen)


Marijuana Legalization and Overdose Prevention

Tuesday June 19, 2018

Guest Facilitator: Jonathon Heidt, Ph.D. Assistant Professor. Criminology & Criminal Justice

“It didn’t occur to me that you would substitute, that you could substitute opiods for cannabis.” –(jump to 3:13 to listen)

“So I, when I would start getting crazy, whether they were mental or physical, Id smoke a joint and after smoking a joint, I can tell you right now the last thing I felt like doing was sticking a rig in my arm, my mind was just not there.” -(jump to 6:45 to listen)

“For alot of users out there its pain you’re trying to be distracted from your pain, whether it’s internal or whatever, and for me, yes, I have a physical illness. Yes, I have marijuana prescribed, but I tell you right now, I use it for my mental health more than anything else.” –(jump to 35:35 to listen)



Recommended Readings (click to view): 

Cannabis for Crack

Going to Pot -The impact of dispensary closures on crime

Rational Cannabis Intervention

MML- Opioid deaths


How Protest Camps Work

Tuesday July 10, 2018 

Facilitator: Laura and Dave from Alliance Against Displacement
Dwayne, an Anita Place resident (the tent city in Maple Ridge) 

Tuesday July 17, 2018 

TOPIC: Self Care – Looking out for No 1

The work supporting people with addictions has become much more stressful as a result of fentanyl poisoning the drugs supplied on the street. Workers encounter many more critical incidents and pay a personal price in terms of their physical health, relationships and overall wellness. This dialogue will explore strategies for maintaining health in the face of chronic stress and critical incidents and why it’s so hard to protect and maintain our wellness.

Guest Facilitator:  Mena Beatch and Patrick Storey of the Provincial Overdose Mobile Response Team will share their experience and ideas on this crucial topic.

Tuesday July 24, 2018 

TOPIC: Business Engagement

Guest Facilitator:  Doug Smith and Amanda Bonella

Tuesday July 31, 2018    

TOPIC: Harm Reduction 

Guest Facilitator:  Lianne Radmore, BGS, MA (student) Harm Reduction Coordinator, Fraser East





…more coming in the fall check back.