People who uses substances (PWUS) reside in all communities. Many live in the DTES, a community that is multi-cultural, with many residents connected to culturally diverse communities and histories, including Chinatown district, as well as the histories of Japanese residents in Oppenheimer, prior to World War II and the devastation of the internment camps.
While the community is located in Coast Salish territories, the DTES has a higher proportion of Indigenous people than other communities within Vancouver, and includes Indigenous people from across North America. While recognized for poverty, homelessness, substance use, and crime, the DTES also needs to be acknowledged for their multicultural, inter-connected communities that care for each other.
However, substance use spans beyond the DTES to the many surrounding urban and rural coastal communities. In particular, substance use and trauma affects Indigenous populations deeply due to historical and ongoing acts of colonialism, criminalization and stigma. Indigenous people who live in these communities especially have endured discriminatory, racist, and colonial practices that have had a lasting legacy, and continue to create barriers for them in their own communities in the region.
This project provides a tour of some of the community-based services in the region, and shares video interviews with community members who have been impacted by stigma.