February 05, 2019

PHOTO OPP: Drug users take stage downtown for realtalk on addiction, overdose, and more


PHOTO OPP: Drug users take stage downtown for realtalk on addiction, overdose, and more

Tuesday, February 5 (Vancouver, B.C.) - Tomorrow a team of people with experience using drugs will be hosting a “community conversation” at UBC Robson Square to mark the official launch of Megaphone’s Speakers Bureau, presented by Central City Foundation.

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“A lot of people have a lot to say about the overdose crisis or addiction and general, but have they ever spoken to or heard from a drug user?” says Sekani Dakelth, who will be presenting tomorrow evening. “For too long decisions and opinions about drug use and what to do about it have happened without awareness of our experiences. Tonight we aim to change that.”

This unique event centers around personal testimony from Dakelth and her colleague Angel Gates both people who have experience using drugs. Dakelth and Gates will also be accompanied by drug policy expert, Donald MacPherson, who will share perspective on policies that shaped perceptions and experiences of drug use. Their remarks are followed by on-stage conversations with a handful of audience members.

Photography and filming will be permitted between 7:00 - 8:00PM and speakers will be available for interviews before the show.

WHAT: Past/current drug users share experience and insights on addiction and overdose crisis

WHERE: 800 Robson (UBC Robson Square)

WHEN: Doors at 6:30pm, Program at 7:00-9:00pm

COST: Free to all

DETAILS: Click here

For the last 5 weeks, the Speakers Bureau team has been meeting weekly, gearing up to share their experiences using drugs and surviving the overdose crisis in workshops designed to help average Vancouverites respond effectively and compassionately to drug use in their work, communities, and families.

“It’s not easy to get up on a stage in front of a crowd of people to explain how the policies and services they support actually push me further away from wellness,” says Angel Gates who will be joining Dakelth on stage. “Of course, I’m grateful for all that is being done to support people like me, but a lot of it really misses the mark. Tonight we launch a community-driven attempt to help people - neighbours, service providers, educators, and others - figure out how to get it right.”

The series is aims to fuel skillful, compassionate community-based responses through public events and custom workshops delivered by the speakers and Megaphone staff. It is delivered by Megaphone Magazine and funded by Central City Foundation, the City of Vancouver, BC Centre on Substance Use, UBC, and the Community Action Initiative and supported by a media sponsorship from CBC Vancouver.

The free event series runs monthly until May. Private workshops can be booked by contacting [email protected]. Full schedule available here.




Media contact

For b-roll, pre-interviews or to speak directly to storytellers at this or future events, please contact [email protected] or 604-255-9701x153.

About Megaphone Magazine

Megaphone offers people experiencing poverty and homelessness products, platforms, and training programs to help them earn a living while advocating for themselves and their communities. Through programming like Megaphone Magazine, the Hope In Shadows Calendar, and now the Speakers Bureau, Megaphone is working to change the story on homelessness and poverty in our communities.

About the presenting sponsor, Central City Foundation

Central City Foundation has been bringing neighbours together to build hope in the inner city since 1907. By building housing and other capital projects, investing in social enterprises that create jobs and opportunities as well as funding hundreds of non-profit organizations, Central City Foundation has provided help and hope to our neighbours in the inner city community for 112 years.

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