A memorial on Nelson’s Baker Street to those of have died of overdoses. Passersby are invited to add an ornament to the tree. Photo: Submitted

A memorial on Nelson’s Baker Street to those of have died of overdoses. Passersby are invited to add an ornament to the tree. Photo: Submitted

Drug user group memorializes loved ones who have died of overdoses

Group has a tree on Baker St. and invites decorations

Submitted by the Rural Empowerment Drug User Network

REDUN joins groups across the province this week in erecting Christmas trees, decorated with love to memorialize our family and friends who are not with us this holiday season.

An average of five people die of an overdose every day in B.C., most as a result of using alone. COVID-19 has proven to exacerbate the ongoing opioid epidemic, with 2020 seeing unprecedented overdose fatalities across the country, including 16 lives lost this year in the Kootenay Boundary region. A toxic drug supply and isolation is a dangerous combination.

Thousands of Canadian families will be grieving lost loved ones this holiday season. We have lost too many to the drug war and hope this memorial will raise awareness. We need your help to end the overdose crisis. Join us in demanding that the federal and provincial governments in Canada take immediate action to end the war on people who use drugs by implementing safe supply, decriminalizing personal possession, and improving access to evidence based treatment options. We invite you to add an ornament to the tree, located on Baker Street at Ward in front of CIBC, to commemorate those lost to overdose, but please maintain physical distancing at all times.

Recognizing that the holiday season can be a difficult time for many, we strongly encourage everyone to stay safe. Get your drugs checked. Carry Naloxone. Don’t use alone. Check on your friends in recovery. Reach out if you need support.