Harassment Against Drug Users and Homeless in Cambridge
There have been at least 9 suspected opioid-related deaths in Waterloo Region in December. New individuals, families and entire networks of people known to those lost are either dealing with new grief, or are trying to cope with the latest loss in a wave of grief that has been enduring for many years without any reprieve.
The sheer volume of lives lost in our opioid overdose / drug poisoning epidemic has not resulted in sweeping radical changes to the resources given to the vulnerable community members most impacted and the organizations addressing drug use through harm reduction, safe supply and CTS. The communities and organizations continue to do everything they can with the resourcing available and continue to experience increasing losses, a dynamic which is unsustainable.
Alongside this situation, some of the organizations, staff, volunteers and program participants at ACCKWA’s Cambridge MACS site have been targeted by anti-CTS individuals surveilling the location and harassing people outside and within the building. Cambridge MACS is not a CTS. The harassers have accused the drop-in of handing out drugs, and have taken photos of the participants and team without their permission.
There is a lot to be said about people who have continued a campaign of harassment, lies, stigma and dehumanization in Cambridge, adding to the trauma and harm experienced by some of our community members over several years. In the past, threats have been made to workers, and individuals have had their belongings vandalized, and their addresses shared.
We will continue our care work, despite these hateful acts, and we will speak up when we are being targeted. We have reported this unacceptable behaviour through the appropriate channels, and will continue to report and to speak up in an effort to draw attention to those desiring to interrupt the provision of life saving, basic needs services that are integral to dignity, health, and well-being. We hope that many others will join us in highlighting this interference, harassment and stigmatization as unacceptable whenever it occurs.