Watch and Share: Guy Felicella Proves Harm Reduction Saves Lives

August 22, 2018. Article by: Government of B.C.

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People who have diabetes regularly monitor their blood sugar levels and inject insulin. High blood pressure patients take medications to reduce their risk of having a heart attack or stroke. These lifesaving practices keep people feeling well in the face of living with chronic disease. As Guy Felicella says in a recent TEDx Talks video, they’re examples of harm reduction. He questions:

“Why are supervised consumption sites and opioid assisted therapies so controversial when the medical field is so filled with and supportive of harm reduction for almost every other disease?”

Guy has died and come back to life six times. He battled the disease of addiction starting from a young age and spent almost 20 years living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Using opioid substitution therapy and supervised consumption services were crucial in saving Guy’s life and helping him on his path to recovery.

“People can’t seem to get past the stigma or the behaviour of a person who uses substances to see that this is a lifelong, unasked for, and unfair disease that requires treatment in order to sustain life.”

Today, Guy works with Vancouver Coastal Health and is passionate about helping people who are suffering with addiction and educating communities on harm reduction to end stigma. His challenge to you, “what’s the one thing you can change in your attitude toward drug addiction and harm reduction? We can all change one thing. Maybe it’s to have a little more empathy. Maybe it’s to have a little more understanding. Or maybe it’s to have a little more compassion.”



Related articles

Dr. Mark Tyndall’s TEDMED Talk on Harm Reduction
How Does Stigma Impact People Who Use Drugs?