Article by Amanda Siebert, The Georgia Straight
Last month, the Georgia Straight broke the story about an activist-led initiative that was providing residents of the Downtown Eastside with natural alternatives to hard drugs.
Yesterday (August 28), Overdose Prevention Society co-founder Sarah Blyth held a press conference at the Downtown Eastside Street Market (62 East Hastings Street) to launch the High Hopes Foundation.
Huddled under a green tent and surrounded by market volunteers, peer workers, and supporters from the community, Blyth explained to members of the media that the initiative was “just another part of the tool kit for saving lives”.
“This is all about showing that we are here providing options for people,” she said.
The tent is located to the right of the entrance to the market, and will be manned by a market volunteer daily. In addition to offering natural alternatives, staff at the tent will facilitate drug testing for users that want to check their drugs for fentanyl.
All items have been donated by local dispensaries, and most products have been priced around $2. (Those looking to purchase more than a one-time-use item can by an eighth, or 3.5 grams of cannabis, for $20.) All profits will go directly back into the foundation to cover things like volunteer honorariums.
Other options include pre-rolled joints and kratom, a legal, herbal drug that has been shown to help treate opiate addiction.
Blyth highlighted a selection of infused gummies, each containing 80 milligrams of THC, and said they were popular among users who wanted to ease pain without using heroin or other hard drugs.