FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A food drive will be held at the International Overdose Awareness Day event taking place in Fort St. John.
The event takes place on August 31st from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Festival Plaza featuring informative booths, free lunch and a vigil to remember individuals who passed due to the overdose crisis.
Event sponsors encourage residents to bring a non-perishable food item for local organizations, including the Women’s Resource Society, the local SPCA and the Salvation Army’s Food Bank.
“They’re all in need of food, they’re all in need of support,” said Pamela Cox, a self-described “wandering peer.”
Cox was previously a peer with Northern Sun Helpers to help break the stigma that comes with substance use but is no longer affiliated with any local programs.
“We’re not addicts anymore. We’re not junkies anymore. We are people, and we have lived and living experiences, and we wish to convey that knowledge that we have to all those that are still alone. They are the ones we are losing more than often,” Cox said at last year’s event.
Cox said a large majority of substance users are middle-class people forced to use alone due to the stigma, which results in them potentially losing everything due to hiding their substance use.
“Community support saves lives,” Cox said, a mantra she repeats often.
Earlier this week, Heather Boswell encouraged residents to come to the event at Festival Plaza to ask questions and learn more about the overdose crisis.
According to the most recent B.C. Coroners Service report, the northeast region reported eight illicit drug overdoses so far in 2023.