Abbotsford Group Makes Superhero Efforts to Help Stop Overdose

July 4, 2017. Article by: Government of B.C.

Superheroes give us hope and inspiration in times of crisis. Characters in our favourite movies and comic books undertake courageous feats to save the day and make us feel like we, too, can make a difference.

21-year-old Julian from Abbotsford B.C. draws his inspiration from Superman.

I know I’m not bulletproof and I don’t think I have superpowers – but I can still help others.

He is part of the Pinkies – a self-organized group of young people helping to combat the overdose crisis in British Columbia. The Pinkies bike around Abbotsford handing out clean needles and other safe-use supplies to youth on the streets using drugs. They also carry Naloxone kits and are trained to respond to overdoses.

As much as we don’t want anybody to be doing drugs, we know that we can’t stop them, so we may as well try to make sure that they aren’t overdosing or getting infected by the supplies they’re using…It’s something small, but it helps, because we’re doing something that other people simply won’t.

Like all superheroes, Julian endured dark times. At the age of 15, he experienced a traumatic event.

“In 2011, I was sexually abused by a close family friend.”

“At first I had no idea how to deal with it: I missed school for six to eight months because I didn’t know how to cope with it.”

“When I was first trying to find other people who went through something like I had, I literally googled ‘am I alone?’ and went from there.”

Overtime, Julian spoke about what happened to him and built a supportive community, surrounding himself with family, friends, and youth advisors.

A lot of people think that sharing your story and being vulnerable is a sign of weakness, but I think it’s the opposite—vulnerability is a sign of strength. Every time life hits you and you get knocked down, sharing that vulnerability with others makes you stand up and become stronger.

Read Julian’s full story.

[Repurposed with permission from Foundry. Original article by Peter Mothe. Photograph by Connor McCracken.]