The Comox Valley experienced a record number of tragic losses to toxic drugs last year. These deaths deeply affected hundreds in the community.
Now, folks are coming together to remember, spread care and love, and share what can be done to make a change.
On August 31st, the a coalition of local organizations will host the Comox Valley International Day of Awareness. The day is in support of those who have been affected by the toxic drug crisis.
The free event will take place from 12–4 in Simms Park, Courtenay. It is hosted by Comox Valley Community Action Team, Unbroken Chain, Indigenous Women’s Sharing Society, and AVI Health and Community Services.
The Town of Comox has proclaimed August 31st International Overdose and Drug Toxicity Crisis
“We affirm that the people affected by overdose and the drug toxicity crisis are our sons and daughters, our mothers and fathers, our brothers and sisters, and deserving of our love, compassion and support,” the town said in their proclamation.
The day will feature connection, community resources, harm reduction, guest speakers, space to mourn, support, and live performances.
Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns has been advocating for new policy around toxic drugs for years. He encourages everyone to keep fighting for change despite the odds.
“Rather than accept these mounting losses as inevitable, we must do everything we can to turn the tide on this tragic crisis,” Johns told Comox Valley News.
In Comox, drug checking services are now available for free and they’re fully confidential.
AVI Health and Community Services, at 355 6th Street, has drop-ins (when available) or you can make an appointment. You can also visit on Thursdays at their 6th Street location in Courtenay from 10–3 (closed 12–1 for lunch).
To help protect yourself from drug poisonings, the Community Action Team recommends you “don’t use alone, start low and go slow, visit the OPS, carry naloxone, and use the Brave or Lifeguard app to help stay safe.”
Through International Overdose Awareness Day, Comox hopes to take steps forward both in recovery from the losses and in moving forward this year.
“We send a strong message to substance users that they are valued. The community is working to mitigate harms and impacts of the toxic drug supply. We wish to prevent deaths due to the toxic drug supply and stimulate discussion in Comox about overdose prevention and share information on services available to our community,” said the town of Comox.
If you’d like to take part in the event, Unbroken Chain is asking for help.
“We could use a few more volunteers for International Awareness Day, on August 31st for event set up from 10am to 12pm. If you are interested we have a volunteer training for that day on August 30th Feel free to message us to sign up!!”
Otherwise, come out and come together on August 31st to spread support and feel how strong the community truly is.