Community Policing and the health and overdose prevention dimensions of Vancouver’s war on drugs: By the Editors with a statement by Alliance Against Displacement

On Wednesday January 25, 2017, fifteen Downtown Eastside (DTES) residents showed up to speak out against a City motion to devote a quarter-million dollars to establish a new Community Policing Office in the DTES. Property and business owners have long advocated for a Community Policing Centre in the increasingly affluent Strathcona sub-district of the still-predominantly low-income DTES without success. This particular motion, however, was buried in a broader city report on municipal actions to address the opioid overdose crisis that claimed 914 lives in British Columbia in 2016.

Low-income community members wanted to speak against this motion because they were offended that overdose prevention money was being redirected to the police. Community Police Centres are part of the criminalization of drugs and social stigmatization of addiction that make people more vulnerable to overdoses, they wanted to say.

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