Prince George is featured in a brand new CBC documentary collection in an episode concerning the opioid disaster.
Good Folks debuts as we speak on CBC’s free steaming service, CBC Gem. The five-part collection takes a take a look at the problems of homelessness, the unfold of rubbish within the atmosphere, points going through veterans, gun violence and the opioid disaster.
Collection creator Mark Sakamoto mentioned he needed to try a few of greatest issues going through communities in North America, and the artistic methods some communities are tackling them.
“They are not insurmountable issues, that is the factor,” Sakamoto mentioned. “We actually set out to take a look at what some communities are doing.”
Sakamoto mentioned he selected to come back to Prince George to shoot components of the episode on the opioid disaster as a result of he needed as an instance that this downside is not simply present in locations like Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
“We needed to indicate that this disaster actually would not’ discriminate between larger cities and smaller cities and cities,” he mentioned.
Whereas the in metropolis, he met with the co-founders of the POUNDS (Stopping Overdose and UNDoing Stigma) Undertaking. The POUNDS Undertaking operates cellular overdose prevention groups and a useful resource centre for individuals experiencing homelessness within the metropolis.
“I began my interview and we have been interrupted by a girl assaulting one other girl with a crowbar,” Sakamoto mentioned. “We spoke on to many people who find themselves battling opioid points. They actually talked to us about what it is like.”
Public dialogue about drug dependancy typically focuses on the statistics, the variety of overdose deaths, and so on., he mentioned, however while you look individuals affected by dependancy within the eyes it humanizes the difficulty.
Good Folks debuted on CBC Gem a day after the B.C. Coroners Companies introduced its newest statistics on illicit drug overdose deaths. Between Jan. 1 and the top of March, seven individuals in Prince George died of drug overdoses.
In 2019, a complete of 25 individuals within the metropolis died of drug overdoses and 49 in 2018.
Primarily based on statistics from 2018 to the top of March this yr, the town has the ninth-highest fee within the province of drug overdose deaths per capita. Town’s fee of deaths is the equal of 35.eight deaths per 100,000 individuals, in comparison with the B.C. common of 20.four deaths per 100,000 individuals.
To date this yr, Northern Well being has the best fee of drug overdose deaths per capita, at 29.three per 100,000 residents.
“However there may be hope,” Sakamoto mentioned. “This isn’t blind hope, however hope primarily based on factual proof.”
After leaving Prince George, Sakamoto’s crew went to Burlington, Vermont – positioned 150 km south of Montreal.
“Burlington seemed eerily just like Prince George a decade in the past. Vermont was the worst state within the U.S. for opioid points,” Sakamoto mentioned. “Then they did one thing actually attention-grabbing… They considered it as a well being pandemic.”
As a substitute of treating the opioid disaster as a legal downside, they handled it as a purely medical concern. They established a command and management system that responded to will increase in overdoses like an outbreak throughout a pandemic.
Overdose prevention groups would reply and go into an space experiencing a surge of overdoses and supply reinforcements to the native public well being personnel on the bottom, he mentioned.
“That modified the entire ballgame in Vermont,” Sakamoto mentioned.
The state went from one of many worst charges of opioid overdoses in the US to top-of-the-line, he mentioned.
Just like Drugs Hat, Alta., which can be featured within the collection for its work to get rid of homelessness, Vermont modified its outcomes by altering the way it approached the issue, he mentioned.
“There’s nothing particular about Burlington, or about my hometown of Drugs Hat. They simply went forward and did it,” Sakamoto mentioned. “If there’s a silver lining of this (COVID-19) disaster… the world has hit a pause button. On this quiet pause… residents can assume deeply about what sort of society can we need to stay in.”
View the episode of Good Folks that includes Prince George free on-line at https://gem.cbc.ca/season/good-people-with-mark-sakamoto/season-2/8cff4c66-8468-42d4-bcb5-3ca65cbb5a22.