Opioids: Changing How We Change

Gordon Casey
Founder, Brave Cooperative

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Octavia Butler wrote,

“All that you touch you change. All that you change changes you. The only lasting truth is change. God is change.”

And I have been hanging on those words since March 2020. In the days when we saw the oncoming train of shutdowns and restrictions we knew that the drug supply was going to change, the ways in which people stay safe from overdose would be restricted and unless we changed how we dealt with that, there would be even more death and suffering.

Keep on going, keep on fighting, keep on marching and petitioning, and keep on loving!

As in all areas of life, we should drop most of it. We should drop the assumptions, drop the stigma, drop the baggage and drop the fucking microphone, so that people who are directly affected by this can pick it up while we drop our heads and listen!

Amazingly, here in Vancouver, the powers-that-be listened and made changes! Some changes. Not all the changes needed. They also blocked changes. And then the drug supply changed. And then people were told not to leave their rooms. They were told “don’t use alone,” while also being told “you can’t be with people.”      

And they died. They died in numbers we’d never seen before. April 2020 was the highest month ever in British Columbia’s history. It got worse after that.

We need to change how we change—how we affect change. In a world that moves at the speed of the market (street, stock, drug—all of them), we can’t move at the speed of three-year ethnographic studies, scientific journal publications and peer review.

If we keep on fighting, and society drops its assumptions, and we change how we change, it’s possible we could actually keep the people we love alive...

It’s too late for Aubri, and for Amber, and for Dylan.
It’s a few weeks too late for Spike, and a couple of days too late for Alida...but we’ll also keep them with us. We’ll keep fighting for their dignity, even in death.