Kelly Morris says if you live in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area and use drugs, getting help isn’t easy.
That’s why Morris, a local advocate and former drug user, organized a rally in the city to draw attention to what she calls a pressing problem: the lack of visibility and resources for people who use drugs.
The event will take place on July 5 from noon to 6 p.m. at the baseball diamond at Parksville Community Park.
Local dance band Big Daddy will perform and speakers with experience with addiction will address the crowd.
In addition, people can get Narcan kits and training.
Morris pointed to the rise of overdose deaths in B.C. since the onset of COVID-19. A total of 170 people died from overdoses in the month of June — the highest number in one month since 2016, when the opioid crisis was first declared.
“I would like to see treatment and stabilized housing, stabilized housing for recovering addicts coming out and reuniting with their families and know where to go,” she said. “They’re all worried about the pandemic, it’s been a main focus… I’m going to bring back recovery, treatment – people are dying, we’ve lost so many due to the poisoned drug supply we have now.”
Morris said as much as the event is to call attention to gaps, it’s also to show people that there is help available and that there are people who care in the area.
“It’s to let them know there is help here, there is a residential treatment and that is the only way out for addicts who are suffering on our streets,” said Morris. “We want to educate our town… the town nurtured me back to help, I know what this town is capable of”
Social distancing will take place at the event.