Social media has been crackling with reactions to a Friday (September 14) police raid in the Downtown Eastside.
Officers seized a small amount of cannabis at the DTES Market. It's next to the Overdose Prevention Society at 62 East Hastings Street.
The OPS was making the cannabis available as a substitute for marginalized people in pain who might otherwise use fentanyl-laced opioids.
Now, according to OPS executive director Sarah Blyth, her group has been asked to vacate the market, where its volunteers spend a great deal of time.
After the police raid, senior public health officials publicly questioned why this bust was necessary.
"It is punitive, compounds trauma and suffering, and contributes nothing to community safety," declared B.C. Centre for Disease Control executive director Dr. Mark Tyndall over Twitter.
The head of B.C. Emergency Services and the executive vice president of the Provincial Health Services Association of B.C., Linda Lupini, noted on Twitter that the Overdose Prevention Society has been an ally in dealing with a public-health crisis. She publicly asked Chief Adam Palmer for an explanation.
Lupini later deleted her tweet and apologized to Chief Adam Palmer for reacting publicly.
Meanwhile, UBC researcher M-J Milloy told CTV Vancouver that the decision to prevent people from providing cannabis to opioid users is "like arresting people who are handing out life jackets on a sinking ship".
Others in the community have expressed their support for Blyth and the OPS, including Vancouver park board chair Stuart Mackinnon.
On the same day as the VPD raid, the B.C. Centre on Substance Use tweeted links to research papers on the relationship between cannabis use and reduced consumption of opioids.More