A harm reduction activist who grew up in Sudbury, Ont., is the main character of a new documentary that screens this evening at the Cinefest International Film Festival.
love in the time of fentanyl Documents the lives of injection drug users and harm reduction workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, often referred to as the ground zero of Canada’s opioid crisis.
Ronnie Grigg, who grew up in Sudbury, has worked to reduce damage since the 1990s and has responded to more than 1,000 overdoses.
He was involved in the Portland Hotel Society in Vancouver, which pioneered social housing with a non-eviction policy for opioid addicts.
Many of the people behind the Portland Hotel Society later started Insight, which in 2003 became North America’s first approved supervised drug injection site.
“People don’t die in those sites,” Grieg said. “The fundamental issue is life and death and this is not an exaggeration, it is not an exaggeration.”
Grieg returns to Sudbury for the film screening, which begins at 6 p.m.
As a harm reduction activist, she said it is rare for people to pay attention to their work.
“So it’s quite unexpected and really cool to shed light on that like a documentary,” he said.
Grigg said that it is difficult to find a person anywhere who has not been affected by the crisis of overdose.
In August, data from Ontario’s chief coroner’s office showed that Sudbury and Districts of Public Health had a death rate of 52.9 per 100,000 people from April 2021 to March 2022.
The district had the second opioid mortality rate in Ontario, after Thunder Bay, which reported an opioid mortality rate of 82.1 per 100,000 people over the same period.
Sudbury is soon ready to have its own supervised consumption site. The site had a grand opening in July, but its operation was delayed due to staff shortages.
morning answer8:52Sudbury’s Ronnie Grieg featured in a Cinefest documentary about the toxic drug crisis