Canada, Cova, United States discussed on The Big Story



Welcome to week. Four of most of the world working from home and before we get to today's topic because I'm recording this for you on a Sunday. That could be Tuesday or could be a Friday. I wanted us to talk a little bit about the passing of time or not cleared. You realize that this Thursday will mark one month since any of us on this team even set foot in the office. It's been a long month and also it's felt really short for some reason if that makes sense because I I did not think that we would be doing this for a month when we first started. I thought a couple of weeks tops and now to think that we could be doing this for several more months is just wild to me. Well what's been the biggest shift? Few in terms of how you relate to time is it Not Knowing what day it is or what week it is or everything just bleeding together because there are a lot for me but one stands out. Yeah all of that but I think the Vegas one has been just not having anywhere to go. I think that's really messed up my sense of time because I'm no longer scheduling anything or thinking about places I have to be in we. You know what time I have to leave my house in order to not be late. That's a huge part of our daily routines. And without it. My whole schedule is really out of whack. You know for me. The biggest thing has been on a macro level the week that we all left the office I was leaving around five thirty and then walking home around quarter to six and I remember being so grateful that winter was ending and it was still light out at like five forty five. That was huge and love on. That happens. Yeah and then yesterday after almost a month of this it was just after eight and the kid was in bed and I was out in the backyard and I noticed that it was still light out. And that's when it kind of hit me. That like a whole changing of the season had slipped past while I was in my basement. Basically I mean. I hope that we don't have another whole changing of seasons while this is happening but I mean since there is literally no end in sight We've been doing this for a month and we're going to continue doing it. We're GONNA continue to help. People find their way in this new normal. Keep people informed about what's happening with this across the country and also share stories of ways that this pandemic could change society and those things won't always be positive but today at least there is a promising development concerning the last major health crisis that we were talking about before this one but I claire the straight news. What do people need to know about where we are as we start our new week? Well today is actually the first day that Canadians have lost their jobs. Because of Cova nineteen can apply for the Canadian emergency response benefit. It offers up to two thousand dollars a month. Here's the thing though. Not everyone can apply today. You can only apply today if your birthday is in January February or March. So if your birthday is in the three months after that you can apply on Tuesday. The three months after that on Wednesday and the last three months of the year on Thursday Friday is when the program becomes open for anyone to apply. I know it's confusing. All the details are online at Canada DOT CA. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says. He's confident that the country will be able to sort out this ban put in place by the US on protective equipment being exported to Canada. Right now Canada's just trying to convince the US that both countries need each other in this fight and it doesn't help anyone to put any sort of ban in place in Saskatchewan. Health officials are trying to figure out a way to reuse and ninety five masks. They would have to have trials. I of course and those likely would not happen. Directly in hospitals they would likely take place in a controlled setting like lab and in Yukon. The government is providing free cell phones to women in vulnerable situations during this pandemic. They're handing out three hundred and twenty-five phones with a free four month plan and this is because of a rise in domestic violence and also an expected shortage of staff at women shelters as of Sunday. Evening over fifteen thousand cases of Kovic nineteen in Canada with two hundred and ninety seven deaths. Some of the most heartbreaking stories that we've told on this podcast have been about the epidemic came before covert nineteen go. It hasn't ended either. The opioid crisis kills thousands of Canadians a year. But despite that it has often been a real fight on the part of advocates to get our governments to try new things it would help save the lives of users even when those new things have already worked in other places. There are the usual political motives behind this the optics and the party bases and law and order promises that need to be kept a lot of. It is also just felt like stagnation. This is how we fight illegal drugs because the drugs are illegal. And this is what we do repeat. But then along came a virus. That doesn't discriminate between a poor user on. Vancouver's downtown Eastside and the officer who hassles him or that officers family that he goes home to. That's just an example but the spread of Cova Nineteen has made it clear that our society is now only going to be as healthy as the poorest among us and so at least one province has started to try something new when it comes to the OPIOID crisis and if it works who knows what could come next. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings in this. Is The big story. Justin Ling is a writer and reporter based in Montreal. He's talked to US primarily. I guess about the West Coast though today. Hi Justin Hey has it gone? It's going to. We always start with. How well are you coping? I'm coping pretty well. We literally just moved house on March. First and we've unpacked fully and I feel settled in so it could be much worse excellent and is a good time to have a new place. You've done a lot of reporting On this topic. And and why don't you start kind of level setting for us and tell me about the how the normal life of a drug user and the OPIOID crisis would put them at increased risk given our situation right now right so I mean you? There's already in academic right now in Canada in North America and other parts of the world in terms of mostly opioid use but not exclusively There is a massive problem in terms of the supply of heroin and other opioids as well as methamphetamines that is causing a huge surge in overdoses and other illnesses and deaths related to drug use That's mostly not because there is a serious increase in drug use But it's because there's change in what drugs are available on the market and and sort of what is being marketed as certain drugs so you know users who have been using heroin since the nineteen nineties or the early two thousands are suddenly using heroin. That's being laced with Fendt nor carefully panel Or some users have fully switched things like Fenton all which just pose a massive risk of overdose and potentially death that's the status quo when Cova nineteen began hitting it hit these communities disproportionately hard You're dealing with people who might already be compromised. You're dealing with people who might not have good support systems. Anyway you're dealing with people who might be experiencing some of the symptoms of covert nineteen in their day to day life potentially through Symptoms of withdrawal or just symptoms of drug use and they might not even know they have covert nineteen until it's too late so these two epidemics are crashing together in a really dangerous way and what happens then when health systems which are trying to prepare for an oncoming crisis Start to kind of shrink into another. What's happening right now to the resources that the drug users would normally have access to. I'm thinking of you know safe injection sites and st clinics and that kind of thing. Well you know of course when you implement stayed home orders when you shut down a lot of businesses or other resources when you ask people to stay home of we're going to work avoid going into the grocery store you know that is going to have a massive impact Some safe consumption sites are trying to stay open. But a lot of them are dealing with staff shortages. A lot of them have had to close or reduce their hours. And all of have tried to implement social distancing so they are capacity is significantly lower. Where maybe you were able to have twelve people inside a site at any given time now. You only have six.

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