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Drug Use Trends in Vancouver, Canada

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It seems everywhere in the world has an issue or an ongoing “war on drugs” and Vancouver, Canada is no exception. Although Vancouver is known for its idyllic landscapes, great beaches, and it’s delicious food, there is also a darker side to Vancouver’s drug lifestyle. Through the years there has been an increase in the 90s and a decrease seen in the mid to late 2010’s in drug abuse trends, but with those numbers, what can be done and what has been done to help those afflicted with addiction. But, drug rehabs in Vancouver provide successful treatment programs. Keep reading to find out more about what’s happening and what’s being done to help.

 

Drug history in Vancouver

Vancouver has a bit of a history of illicit drug abuse, especially in the mid-nineties and the early 2000s. There was a steady increase in crack cocaine and meth abuse in those years; the use of meth growing even more from 2010 and on. There was an attempt to stop the use of syringe drug usage so they government began a syringe exchange program, hoping to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS through individuals who abused drugs through syringe injection. Although many attempts were made to create a new program to take the place of the closed syringe exchange business, but nothing was ever able to properly take its place. By the year 2010, the use of syringe injected drugs was nearly double what it was in the nineties.

 

Recent Trends

In the more recent years, there has been a decline in syringe sharing and an overall decline in crack cocaine usage since 2007. With the current decline in mind, we must still remember that there is a large amount of drug abusers still within Vancouver. As you can assume with any other kind of crime driven activity, the abuse of drugs in Vancouver has also seen some severe cases of violence related to the selling and buying of illicit drugs.

 

One of the largest problems Vancouver faces in the drug crisis is the abuse of opioids, which is reflected elsewhere in the world and especially in North America. Even though this is a major threat to the people of Vancouver, this is not even the most abused substance in the area.

 

Most heavily used substance

According to some recent statistics, the most abused substance in Vancouver is crack at roughly 85% of the total Vancouver drug arrests, followed closely by marijuana, cocaine, and heroin.

 

Crystal Meth and Methadone are lower statistically than they have been in years, which shows that some of the attempts and public programs put into effect are working to help lower the ongoing drug abuse epidemic.

 

Thankfully, the statistics on teenagers abusing drugs have been on the decline. Of teen drug usage, the most prevalent abused substance is cannabis, which though it is an abused substance, it doesn’t result in the number of deaths that many other drugs cause with overdose and abuse. The group with the highest rate of death and overdose within Vancouver are adults between the ages of 30-39 years old.

 

What is being done?

The Vancouver government has issued a strategy in fighting the drug epidemic in Vancouver. They call this strategy the four pillar approach. This is not a new theory as it was first introduced in Europe in the 90s. As the name would suggest, there are four basic parts to the four pillar approach:

 

Harm reduction: this main principle looks at the way to reduce harm to those individuals and communities impacted by this trend of drug abuse. This pillar attempts to set goals for control and reduce the damage done to these people. A major change implemented is several sites set up to supervise injection sites and needle exchanges. This is an attempt to not only slow down the use and abuse of injected drugs, but also to slow down the spread of HIV and AIDS.

 

Prevention: as you would assume, this pillar looks at the prevention of harmful abuse of controlled and illicit drugs. Similar to the harm reduction, this pillar attempts to avoid harm to the drug abusers, their families, and the communities by preventing and educating the public of the dangers of these drugs. In this education, they are hoping to reduce the actual rate of incidence and overdoses.

 

Treatment: this pillar looks at ways to better treat those who are already struggling with their addictions. This includes treatment, intervention, and medical assistance for anyone suffering from addiction and drug abuse. There have been many health centers set up throughout Vancouver to help with those who are currently sick and those who are recovering and experiencing withdrawal from their drug abuse. Vancouver has also seen a rise in clinics which provide controlled dosages of opioids in the attempt to safely wean the substance out of their system.

 

Enforcement: Vancouver police department is at the heart of this pillar with an increase in police education and training in how to handle these individuals struggling with their addiction. They are there to offer safety and assistance with anyone dealing with the symptoms of the drug epidemic both in the individual and the community. They often work at injection and treatment sites, the syringe exchange sites and more to offer safety to the facility and it’s workers as well as the individuals receiving treatment.

 

As you can see, Vancouver has created a great strategy in the four pillar approach in an attempt to lower recidivism in criminals and drug abusers, making a safer community and a safer treatment option for those who are currently addicted or struggling with their addiction.

 

Although Vancouver, Canada, like many other places in the world, currently struggles with drug abuse we can see that they are taking huge steps in the attempt to rectify this type of crime and death. The trends in drug abuse in Vancouver has had it’s ups and downs, but based on many of the steps being taken, we can hope that there will be a continued decline in this type of crime, abuse, and death.

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Long COVID: Half of patients hospitalised have at least one symptom two years on – Australian Hospital + Healthcare Bulletin

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Long COVID: Half of patients hospitalised have at least one symptom two years on

Two years on, half of a group of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, still have at least one lingering symptom, according to a study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. The study followed 1192 participants in Wuhan infected with SARS-CoV-2 during the first phase of the pandemic in 2020.

While physical and mental health generally improved over time, the study found that COVID-19 patients still tend to have poorer health and quality of life than the general population. This is especially the case for participants with long COVID, who typically still have at least one symptom including fatigue, shortness of breath and sleep difficulties two years after initially falling ill.1

The long-term health impacts of COVID-19 have remained largely unknown, as the longest follow-up studies to date have spanned around one year.2 The lack of pre-COVID-19 health status baselines and comparisons with the general population in most studies has also made it difficult to determine how well patients with COVID-19 have recovered.

Lead author Professor Bin Cao, of the China-Japan Friendship Hospital, China, said, “Our findings indicate that for a certain proportion of hospitalised COVID-19 survivors, while they may have cleared the initial infection, more than two years is needed to recover fully from COVID-19. Ongoing follow-up of COVID-19 survivors, particularly those with symptoms of long COVID, is essential to understand the longer course of the illness, as is further exploration of the benefits of rehabilitation programs for recovery. There is a clear need to provide continued support to a significant proportion of people who’ve had COVID-19, and to understand how vaccines, emerging treatments and variants affect long-term health outcomes.”3

The authors of the new study sought to analyse the long-term health outcomes of hospitalised COVID-19 survivors, as well as specific health impacts of long COVID. They evaluated the health of 1192 participants with acute COVID-19 treated at Jin Yin-tan Hospital in Wuhan, China, between 7 January and 29 May 2020, at six months, 12 months and two years.

Assessments involved a six-minute walking test, laboratory tests and questionnaires on symptoms, mental health, health-related quality of life, if they had returned to work and healthcare use after discharge. The negative effects of long COVID on quality of life, exercise capacity, mental health and healthcare use were determined by comparing participants with and without long COVID symptoms. Health outcomes at two years were determined using an age-, sex- and comorbidities-matched control group of people in the general population with no history of COVID-19 infection.

Two years after initially falling ill, patients with COVID-19 are generally in poorer health than the general population, with 31% reporting fatigue or muscle weakness and 31% reporting sleep difficulties. The proportion of non-COVID-19 participants reporting these symptoms was 5% and 14%, respectively.

COVID-19 patients were also more likely to report a number of other symptoms including joint pain, palpitations, dizziness and headaches. In quality of life questionnaires, COVID-19 patients also more often reported pain or discomfort (23%) and anxiety or depression (12%) than non-COVID-19 participants (5% and 5%, respectively).

Around half of study participants had symptoms of long COVID at two years, and reported lower quality of life than those without long COVID. In mental health questionnaires, 35% reported pain or discomfort and 19% reported anxiety or depression. The proportion of COVID-19 patients without long COVID reporting these symptoms was 10% and 4% at two years, respectively. Long COVID participants also more often reported problems with their mobility (5%) or activity levels (4%) than those without long COVID (1% and 2%, respectively).

The authors acknowledged limitations to their study, such as moderate response rate; slightly increased proportion of participants who received oxygen; it was a single centre study from early in the pandemic.

References:

1. – National Institute for Health and Care Excellence – Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network – Royal College of General Practitioners. COVID-19 rapid guideline: managing the long-term effects of COVID-19. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng188
2. – Soriano – JB Murthy – S Marshall – JC Relan – P Diaz JV – on behalf of the WHO Clinical Case Definition Working Group on Post-COVID-19 Condition. A clinical case definition of post-COVID-19 condition by a Delphi consensus. Lancet Infect Dis. 2021; 22: e102-e107
3. – Huang L – Yao Q – Gu X – et al. 1-year outcomes in hospital survivors with COVID-19: a longitudinal cohort study. Lancet. 2021; 398: 747-758

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/ink drop

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2SLGBTQ+ lobby group head speaks on the trauma of conversion therapy

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Although conversion therapy has now been outlawed in Canada, many are still victims causing them to go through a lot of trauma in the process.

According to Jordan Sullivan, Project Coordinator of Conversion Therapy Survivors Support and Survivors of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Change Efforts (SOGIECE), survivors of conversion therapy identify the need for a variety of supports including education and increased awareness about SOGIECE and conversion practices.

Also needed is access to affirming therapists experienced with SOGIECE, trauma (including religious trauma), safe spaces and networks, and access to affirming healthcare practitioners who are aware of conversion therapy or SOGIECE and equipped to support survivors.

“In January of 2021 when I was asked to be the project coordinator, I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure that my experience could be classified as SOGIECE or conversion therapy. I never attended a formalized conversion therapy program or camp run by a religious organization. Healthcare practitioners misdiagnosed me or refused me access to care.

In reality, I spent 27 years internalizing conversion therapy practices through prayer, the study of religious texts, disassociation from my body, and suppression or denial of my sexual and gender identities. I spent six years in counselling and change attempts using conversion therapy practices. I came out as a lesbian at age 33, and as a Trans man at age 51. I am now 61 and Queerly Heterosexual, but I spent decades of my life hiding in shame and fear and struggled with suicidal ideation until my mid-30s.

At times I wanted to crawl away and hide, be distracted by anything that silenced the emptiness, the pain, the wounds deep inside. I realized that in some ways, I am still more comfortable in shame, silence, and disassociation, than in any other way of being and living, but I was also filled with wonderment at the resiliency and courage of every single one of the participants.

However, many of us did not survive, choosing to end the pain and shame through suicide. Many of us are still victims in one way or another, still silenced by the shame, still afraid of being seen as we are. Still, many of us are survivors, and while it has not been an easy road, many of us are thrivers too,” said Jordan.

In addition, Jordan said conversion practices and programs are not easily defined or identified, and often capture only a fragment of pressures and messages that could be considered SOGIECE.

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Some in B.C. cross U.S. border for their next COVID-19 vaccine – Global News

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Global News Hour at 6 BC

There is evidence of the lengths some British Columbians will go to get a second booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine — crossing the border to Point Roberts, WA for a shot. The movement comes thanks to the different approach to the fourth shot south of the border. Catherine Urquhart reports.

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