Fighting for Space (Kobo eBook)

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Vancouver has long been the epicenter of a major drug epidemic, made all the more dire by the fentanyl crisis; but it’s also been home to one of North America’s most innovative campaigns to treat wide-scale addiction through harm reduction and, specifically, safe injection sites. Fighting for Space is a book that documents how a group of drug users launched a grassroots approach advocating for new ways to deal with drug addiction, with great success, and one that is now being emulated in cities across North America.

Fighting for Space recounts Vancouver's experience through the 1990s and the first decade of the 2000s struggling with addiction and an epidemic of drug-overdose deaths. More than that, it is about people who have suffered the consequences of addiction and prohibition who did not have family or friends to help them get back up. It tells their stories and explains harm reduction for communities that are struggling with overflowing jails, crime fueled by desperation, and people left in the streets to die.

Travis Lupick is a journalist with the Georgia Straight and a long-time Downtown Eastside Vancouver advocate. He was inspired to write this book by Johann Hari's book Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War On Drugs (2015), which explains large-scale concepts and the harms of prohibition through the stories of individuals, using compelling, real-world characters to help people understand the consequences of the war on drugs.

Among the stories told in the book are those of Liz Evans and Mark Townsend, who founded the Portland Housing Society in 1993 which in 2003 forced Vancouver Coastal Health to open and run the then-illicit safe injection site, the first of its kind in North America; and Philip Owen, the former right-of-centre Vancouver mayor who made a surprising policy reversal by advocating for the Four Pillar Approach to drug addiction (prevention, treatment, enforcement and harm reduction), a decision that made him a pariah among his former conservative supporters.

The book also includes chapter-long “case studies” of experiences on the frontlines of addiction and its treatment in Ohio, Florida, New York, California, Massachusetts, and Washington state.

In the context of the current fentanyl crisis, Fighting for Space is a useful reminder of the work that’s been done by activists and medical and legal professionals to contain drug addiction in positive and meaningful ways.

Product Details
ISBN-13: 9781551527130
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press
Publication Date: June 5th, 2018