Christy Wood, Nick Versteeg, and Dr. Shannon Waters. (Cole Schisler photo).

Let’s talk about addiction in Ladysmith

The Ladysmith Resource Centre Association hosted a presentation on the local opioid crisis

People in Ladysmith are dying due to the opioid crisis.

Maybe a public gathering Tueday evening at Ladysmith Secondary School is a step closer to saving them.

The Ladysmith Resource Centre Association, (LRCA) hosted a presentation on the crisis and how it’s affecting the community, where Cowichan Valley filmmaker Nick Versteeg presented his film A Just Society, a documentary on the opioid crisis facing communities in Vancouver Island.

The screening was hosted in conjunction with Christy Wood, executive director of the LRCA, and Dr. Shannon Waters, medical health officer for the Cowichan district in an attempt to start a community conversation.

RELATED: It’s here: tackling opioid addiction in Ladysmith

RELATED: Expert says overdose crisis is not about pain

“[The film] is not made for television, it’s made for a presentation,” Versteeg said. “The whole goal is to get a conversation going because we cannot let this happen over and over again.”

Versteeg’s film follows several individuals through their struggles with addiction, and shows multiple treatment centres on Vancouver Island, including Cedars treatment centre in Cobble Hill, Our Place in Victoria, and Woodwynn Farm in Saanich. The film also details struggles of homelessness and opioid addiction in the Cowichan Valley.

After the screening, Waters spoke about statistics gathered by the Vancouver Island Health Authority for the Cowichan Valley Regional District. The statistics were separated in to three regions: Cowichan Valley South, Cowichan Valley West, and Cowichan Valley North, which contains Ladysmith. There are about 90,000 people living in the Cowichan Valley, 20,819 of which live in Cowichan Valley North.

Ladysmith experienced four opioid related overdose deaths in 2016, four in 2017, and three in 2018. All the deaths in 2018 were fentanyl related, and more than 60 percent occurred in a private residence. The deaths were mainly affecting men aged 50-54.

“We are losing people in Ladysmith to this crisis,” Waters said. “Reaching out or connecting with those individuals may be different than people who are a decade or two younger. What we really need to look at is the location of these deaths… and how do we reach those people who are using in a private residence.”

The largest number of overdose deaths occurred in the Cowichan Valley South region. To combat this, a safe injection site was opened in Duncan in September 2017. Since then, the site has been visited 29,000 times.

Waters said the site sees over 390 new clients a month, and 209 overdoses have been reversed. No deaths have occurred at the site. While the site has been successful, opioid users in Ladysmith have difficulty accessing the service due to its distance from the community. This leaves users with few options for safe consumption.

About 25 people attended the presentation. Most appeared engaged throughout and spoke at length with organizers afterward.

Versteeg and Waters will be presenting again at the United Church in Chemainus on Wednesday, May 15, from 7 to 9 pm. They encourage everyone in the community to come to the event, especially youths.

Just Posted

No shortage of water supply in Ladysmith despite stage three water restrictions

Water restrictions remain in place to service community in case of an emergency

Mamma Mia! smashes Chemainus Theatre Festival ticket sales record

Total expected to surpass 30,000 tickets before the show ends on Aug. 31

Ladysmith’s Pamela Anderson adds star power to B.C. Green Party town hall

Celebrity attended Nanaimo meeting Wednesday with representatives from U.S. environmental group

Going with the flow in River Tales

Crofton author documents many interesting experiences from her time on the Cowichan River

Paul Manly to host series of community meetings

The first meeting is scheduled for July 18, at the North Oyster Community Centre, 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Rents in most Canadian cities are unaffordable for lower-income earners: study

Roughly one-third of households, or 4.7 million, are renters

B.C. government seeks advice on reviving Interior forest industry

Public website opens as meetings start with community leaders

Film features Chez Monique, an off-the-grid restaurant on West Coast Trail in B.C.

“The story we are trying to share is of the loving haven they created and sustained for decades.”

Psychics, drones being used to search for missing Chilliwack woman with dementia

Drones, psychics, dogs and more have been employed to help find Grace Baranyk, 86

Scheer on Trump: It’s ‘offensive’ to question the family background of critics

Trump is being called a racist for saying that the four congresswomen should go back where they came from

Instagram expands Canadian pilot removing ‘like’ counts to more countries

Social media giant plans to roll out the test in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, Italy and Ireland

Man involved in beating and tasering over a drug debt to be sentenced in Nanaimo

Colin Damen Gary Lamontagne pleaded guilty to charges, including aggravated assault

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

Most Read