BC Lions Alumni Talk About the Impact of the Overdose Crisis on Men

February 18, 2021. Article by: Government of B.C.

The overdose crisis is having a devastating impact on British Columbians. 2020 had the highest number of overdose deaths ever in B.C. Nearly five people lost their lives each day to overdose, totalling 1,716 deaths over the course of the year – a 74 per cent increase from 2019. More than 81% of these deaths were men.

BC Lions Alumni, Travis Lulay and Geroy Simon, want men to know that more than ever, it’s time to come together. There is strength in opening up and talking about what you are going through.

In my experience growing up, it was always a show of strength to hide your feelings. In today’s day and age, true strength comes through when you talk about your feelings. – Geroy Simon

Some men may experience shame or blame about what they are experiencing and may feel like they need to hide substance use challenges from those they care about. Travis and Geroy believe that being vulnerable is one of the most courageous things you can do.

More and more, men are talking to each other, and their friends and loved ones. You don’t have to act like you’re fine if you’re not. It’s okay to reach out for help when you need it.

It really can be freeing for people to know you’re not alone…there’s a lot of people going through different phases in their lives…it’s not always smooth sailing all the time. – Travis Lulay


Filmed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Geroy reflects on stigma about substance use and addiction, and why it can make it hard for people to reach out for help. It’s time to help end stigma so more people can get the support they need. The way people think about alcohol and drug use is changing.

Addiction is not a choice. It’s more complicated than that. Substance use disorder is a health condition, not a moral failing. – Geroy Simon


What to do if you are experiencing substance use challenges

If you need support, reach out to someone you know.

The first step for many people is talking to a friend or family member. If a substance use challenge is affecting your life – whether causing difficulties with family, friends, at work or school – you may want to speak with a healthcare professional.

Where to find help:

If you or someone you know uses drugs, visit an overdose prevention or supervised consumption service near you, get a free Naloxone kit and use with a buddy. Use the Lifeguard app if you are alone. 

If you suspect an overdose, call 9-1-1 right away.