Georgia Straight's Travis Lupick and Amanda Siebert win national awards for coverage of fentanyl crisis

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      The horrific impact of the fentanyl crisis is now obvious to most British Columbians.

      With 931 fatal illicit-drug overdoses in the province in 2016, it's been a calamity for families, communities, and first responders who've been pushed to the limits for more than a year.

      Ever-curious Georgia Straight reporter Travis Lupick has been on this story from its earliest stages, spending countless hours speaking to a stunning number of sources to understand and then draw public attention to the issue.

      And for a special project last fall, he was accompanied by Straight photojournalist and videographer Amanda Siebert for a detailed examination of how average folks in the Downtown Eastside were responding to the Grim Reaper stalking their neighbourhood.

      Lupick and Siebert produced an astonishing inside look at courageous and loving residents helping their neighbours repeatedly survive what should have been fatal overdoses. The heart of the Downtown Eastside was on display to the world. And the people living there weren't getting a great deal of help from the authorities.

      The work of Lupick and Siebert helped stimulate more media coverage, which led to a dramatic response from the provincial government.

      Today, Lupick and Siebert won a Canadian Association of Journalists award in the community-media category for "A community response: How the worst overdose epidemic in Vancouver's history left the Downtown Eastside to fend for itself".

      They also won the CAJ's prestigious Don McGillivray Award for best overall investigative report, beating out every other media outlet in Canada.

      Kudos should also go to the Straight's tech team (Tina Luu, Miles Keir, Jeff Li, and others in the tech team) for their valuable assistance on the presentation and distribution of the story.

      It was public-service journalism of the highest order.

      Video: Ann Livingston says she had to step in to save lives because the government wasn't stepping up.
      Amanda Siebert