PHOTOS: Rally at Ministry of Health calls attention to deadliest month of overdoses

Correne Antrobus rallies at the Ministry of Health building in Victoria on Friday, July 31 to draw attention to the ongoing overdose crisis. 2020 (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Diane McNally holds a sign advocating for more supports for people who struggle with substance use disorder, specifically meth, such as her son. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Kelly Fells and Jenny Howard outside the Ministry of Health building as part of a rally aiming to call attention to the ongoing overdose epidemic. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Members of the Goodridge family hold signs remembering their brother and son, Morgan, who died last month from a drug overdose. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
A sign advocating for the decriminalization of illicit drugs seen at Friday’s rally. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Dave Keeler works for SOLID Outreach and wanted to show his support for the issue at Friday’s rally. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Leslie Mcbain co-founded Moms Stop the Harm after her son, Jordan, died from a drug overdose in 2014 when he was 25 years old. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
The Mahoney family holds a sign with their son Michael’s photo. Michael died at 21 from a fatal overdose just days after he was accepted into a treatment center. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Jenny Howards leads the crowd in chanting ‘decrim now’ and ‘not one more.’ (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Jenny Howard lost her son Robby at 24 years old to an overdose. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

A crowd of family, friends, advocates and allies gathered in front of the Ministry of Health building on Friday afternoon to ‘rage, grieve and love’ after the deadliest month of overdoses in the province.

The rally, hosted by Moms Stop the Harm and the South Island Overdose Response Network, is aiming to draw attention to the ongoing overdose crisis that has only been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Friday’s event is part of a series of rallies “ramping up” for International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31, said Correne Antrobus.

READ ALSO: Black Press Media launches updated Overdose Prevention resource guide

Antrobus, whose daughter has been in active addiction for 11 years, became involved with Moms Stop the Harm about three years ago when she heard an interview with a parent who had just lost their son to an overdose. She and others have been advocating for safe supply, decriminalization and more support services for years.

In June, nearly six people died every day across the province for a total of 175 lives lost due to an overdose.

READ ALSO: Nearly 6 people died from overdoses each day in June as B.C. sees continued spike

In the first six months of 2020, B.C. has seen 728 overdose deaths compared to the 543 deaths during the same period last year.

Antrobus speaks to her daughter almost every day “to make sure she’s still alive.” She says the fact her daughter has a roof over her head and a phone have been vital to her well-being.

“Right now, I think she’s quite ingrained in [the lifestyle] and the thought of trying to get help is so overwhelming,” says Antrobus. “When she has asked for help it wasn’t available.”

Antrobus wants to see more rehabilitation facilities on the Island and has suggested the recently vacated Oak Bay Lodge would be a good place for a rehab or detox center.

At least 100 people attended Friday’s rally, banging pots and chanting “decrim now” and “not one more.” Cars driving along Blanshard street were encouraged to honk in support in an effort to get the attention of those inside the Ministry’s building.


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

B.C. overdosesoverdose crisis

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan Bui (left) and Kairry Nguyen at the end of the trial that found Tanessa Nikirk guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Nikirk is back in court for her sentencing hearing. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATED: Court hears letter from driver convicted of hitting Saanich girl

Leila Bui has been in a non-responsive state since she was hit in 2017

HarbourCats players celebrate winning the North Division Championship Series in 2019. (Christian J. Stewart/File Photo)
Victoria HarbourCats locked out of team Facebook page

Management hires legal team to solve issue

Victoria police are looking for high-risk offender Douglas McPherson. (Courtesy of VicPD)
UPDATED: Victoria police arrest high-risk parolee with history of bank robbery

Citizen alerts cops after spotting parolee on Pandora Avenue

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Victoria police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

Saanich implements single-lane traffic stretch on Prospect Lake Road along Clavert Park. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Saanich makes one-way traffic permanent on segment of Prospect Lake Road

Prospect Lake Road to close near Calvert Park Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. for construction

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

Freighter drags anchor towards Boulder Point Oct. 22. It came within 730 metres of the shore, according to maps from the Port of Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)
MacGregor introduces bill to address freighter anchorages along the South Coast

Concerns about the environment, noise, pollution and safety abundant

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Harvesters participating in the extended commercial halibut season will need to land their catch in either Prince Rupert (pictured), Vancouver, or Port Hardy by Dec. 14. (File photo)
B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks

COVID-19 market disruptions at the root of DFO’s decision

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

A view from the deck of a home in SookePoint. The property is a prize in the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation Millionaire Lottery. Tickets are on sale now. (Contributed photo)
Millionaire Lottery home up for grabs in Sooke

Sooke prize home part of latest VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation Millionaire Lottery

Most Read