Manage episode 226286547 series 2455318
EPISODE 24 ft. Guy Felicella – Do you know someone who’s struggled with drugs? Natural addiction hasn’t changed over the centuries; however, the drugs have become more powerful. There’s a cost, not just to the user, but to you, our medical system, and our societies.
In the United States seven people die every hour of a drug overdose; and in 2017, that was 72,000 people that died of an overdose crisis in the United States. In British Columbia, four die every day; and in Canada, 11 die every day to a drug overdose.
Guy Felicella joins us today to talk about these figures, what we’re doing to bring them down with transitional housing and harm reduction programs, and what else we can do.
Guy is a worker with the Vancouver Coastal Health. He works with the homeless – people with poverty issues and with substance abuse in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver – and one big part of his job is working with people regarding harm reduction services in the heart of the opioid crisis that we are actually seeing here in BC and in particular Vancouver, but also in the communities around Vancouver.
Guy Felicella grew up in a middle-class home in Richmond but fell into addiction at a young age. Guy spent 30 years in the repeated cycle of gangs, addiction, treatment, and jail. He spent nearly 20 years residing in the two-block radius in the Downtown Eastside and using many resources, including harm reduction, to keep himself alive.
Today, Guy has escaped the grips of the turmoils that kept him suffering and resides in Surrey with his wife and two young children with multiple years of recovery and sobriety under his belt.
Guy is passionate about advocating for the vulnerable people who still suffer in addiction and educating communities on harm reduction to eliminate the stigma that exists around it. Guy has started a career with Vancouver Coastal Health in addition to attending various school districts to educate students on addiction.
Guy spent nearly his entire life suffering from the disease of addiction and now he is using his experience to change the hearts and minds of people stating, “you can’t save a dead addict.”