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Four Pillars: Did it fail?

with Julian Somers, Simon Fraser University


Original premiere date: 5 March 2021

Twenty one years ago, the city, the province and the feds signed the Vancouver Agreement, which is better known as the Four Pillars strategy.

It was designed as a shared “vision of creating a healthy, safe and sustainable” Downtown Eastside. A long list of objectives were designed to improve health and access to emergency and crisis interventions, better access to hospital care; reduce preventable deaths; reduce overall costs to the economy related to substance misuse; reduce crime; make the Downtown Eastside safe; and promote economic links between it and the city as a whole. The list of missed objectives is long.

According to Dr. Julian Somers, a Simon Fraser University addictions, mental health and homelessness expert, “If we want to bring about real change, you can’t do it the way we are. To affect real change, we have to come to understand the causes of addiction and the conditions that promote positive change. Under the current leadership, we have been backed into a corner where the civic duty of every British Columbian now includes knowing how to administer narcan.”

We invited Dr. Julian Somers to join us for a Conversation That Matters about how we can develop a path to recovery from homelessness and addiction – a path, he maintains, is attainable for everyone but not by the current methods.

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