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“Okay, just recently Health Canada gave a few agencies in Toronto some money to hire more nurse practitioners to help with prescribing. And that only happened because of COVID. Why it is that something like this had to happen before the government did what they did? You know, what they should have done a long time ago? It shouldn’t be like that. They should have been doing this a long time.”


Between mid-May and the beginning of July 2020, members of the national working group engaged in recorded telephone conversations to discuss thoughts, feelings and challenges experienced during COVID-19, which are reflected here in Stories from the Frontline. Within these reflections were also moments of resistance, strategies for overcoming the dual pandemics of overdose and COVID-19, and recommendations for change including immediate action for governments to address the overdose crisis, while simultaneously lowering COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.


Some of the group members have asked to have their words recognized. Below you can read the stories from the workers themselves about the impacts of service closure and the feelings of being left behind, but also, the resilience and duty to care that they demonstrate in their work.


This page is a living document, from time to time more information will be added as we meet with members and discuss their experiences during the ongoing pandemic.

low-angle photo of street between two br

Cumulative & Collective PTSD

“But there’s this cumulative PTSD that the whole community is suffering together in. You know what I mean? It’s a group of people that all have this stress disorder and the whole Downtown Eastside has this stress. It’s not just an individual case... It’s like the whole goddamn city has it and it’s sort of all integrated and that is making for a really really hard situation.”

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