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'PERFECT STORM: COVID on OPIOIDS' zReportage #755 by ZUMA Press's stellar passionate award winning photographer Czech DAVID TESINSKY, 30, who specializes in sub-cultures, social topics and tells the stories that need to be told for ZUMA Wire Service. David's beautiful series of images, tackles the issues of what is is happening in British Columbia on the ongoing Opioid crisis during the COVID-19 Pandemic. While the pandemic is front and center in Canadian governance, there is another equal and growing crisis that has been killing people for years and appears to not be getting the attention it deserves and needs in British Columbia in 2020. Opioid overdoses, deaths and the addiction cases rising. Before the pandemic, drug use had already burned a deadly path across the country, with over 4,500 overdose deaths in B.C. since 2016, when it was declared a public health emergency. In 2020, 170 people died of drug overdose in the province, while COVID claimed 229 lives. BC has opened several temporary new overdose prevention sites. Drug users and advocates have been calling for community support instead of policing. Safe injection sites instead of prison sentences, and affordable housing instead of temporary shelters. The Pandemic is drawing a big spotlight on short comings of BC opioid governance. Without a long-term plan to address the opioid crisis issues, British Columbia could see escalating deaths, long after COIVID is hopefully a bad memory. As the opioid crisis remains mostly out of control, it's now colliding with the COVID Pandemic. Welcome to: 'PERFECT STORM: COVID on OPIOIDS'
© Story of the Week of September 29, 2020 on zReportage.com : 'PERFECT STORM: COVID on OPIOIDS' zReportage #755 by ZUMA Press's stellar passionate award winning photographer Czech DAVID TESINSKY, 30, who specializes in sub-cultures, social topics and tells the stories that need to be told for ZUMA Wire Service. David's beautiful series of images, tackles the issues of what is is happening in British Columbia on the ongoing Opioid crisis during the COVID-19 Pandemic. While the pandemic is front and center in Canadian governance, there is another equal and growing crisis that has been killing people for years and appears to not be getting the attention it deserves and needs in British Columbia in 2020. Opioid overdoses, deaths and the addiction cases rising. Before the pandemic, drug use had already burned a deadly path across the country, with over 4,500 overdose deaths in B.C. since 2016, when it was declared a public health emergency. In 2020, 170 people died of drug overdose in the province, while COVID claimed 229 lives. BC has opened several temporary new overdose prevention sites. Drug users and advocates have been calling for community support instead of policing. Safe injection sites instead of prison sentences, and affordable housing instead of temporary shelters. The Pandemic is drawing a big spotlight on short comings of BC opioid governance. Without a long-term plan to address the opioid crisis issues, British Columbia could see escalating deaths, long after COIVID is hopefully a bad memory. As the opioid crisis remains mostly out of control, it's now colliding with the COVID Pandemic. Welcome to: 'PERFECT STORM: COVID on OPIOIDS'
A heroin addict after shooting up at the old train tracks near the hockey arena which is being used as a makeshift shelter for homeless drug users. COVID-19 has forced the city's most troubled residents to live in a 7,400-seat hockey stadium, where they are allowed to use drugs under supervision, so they don't become another victIm of an overdose crisis that has killed more people here than the coronavirus.
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire
ALANA smokes crack in a back alley of Vancouver. 'I got this safe supply. I was excited at first, but now what do I do with it?' she asks. 'I'm used to doing fentanyl, so I don't really know what to do with these pills.'
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire
This drug user was not one of the 'lucky ones' to get shelter at the arena and stays in his tent at a local park.
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire
A heroin addict shooting up into his leg sitting on abandoned train tracks near the hockey stadium which is being used a homeless shelter during the Covid19 pandemic.
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire
A heroin addict near the hockey arena smokes a cigarette.
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire
An addict sits on the street and shows his recently acquired drugs. All the addicts receive a disability pension from the B.C. government, and live in a 'supportive recovery' program.
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire
ALANA prepares to shoot up. Alana is a fentanyl and meth addict and receives support for her addictions. 'I was excited at first, but now what do I do with it?' she asks. 'I used to doing fentanyl, so I don't really know what to do with these pills.'
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire
An addicts drugs are hidden inside a fake book.
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire
ALANA smokes crack while her dog stays quiet beside her. Her dog does not show much enthusiasm and doesn't even react when its name is called.
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire
'Your drug war is a genocide' states DAVID KEELER's t-shirt. David an addict, was born in Victoria and grew up in Vancouver. His father was a prison guard, and his mother was a psychiatric nurse. He has a 15-year-old daughter, but hasn't had a relationship with her for five years.
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire
Forty eight people have beds at the arena, along with access to free and safe opioid and amphetamine drugs, by doctor's prescription.
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire
Outside of a supportive center for drug addicts a drug user tells passersby he is convinced that he has invented a time machine.
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire
'We feel really caged in here,' says JOHN, a wiry guy in his 50s, standing in the end zone of the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, a 7,400-seat hockey arena in downtown Victoria, which is being used as a homeless shelter for addicts during the Covid19 pandemic.
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire
'PHOENIX,' (33) is a drug addict who grew up in Toronto and moved to Victoria as a teenager. She has been getting a safe supply of Dexedrine, but continues to use highly addictive crystal methamphetamine.
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire
Standing next to a cubicle, DAVID KEELER, (44) known as Dave, is a heroin addict, and works as a helper for other drug addicts staying in the arena.
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire
DAVID KEELER, (44) is also trying to come off the psychiatric drug Zoloft. 'The Dilaudid (narcotic), it's peace of mind, to have these in your pocket. It isn't a cure,' Dave says.
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire
ALANA with drugs she has recently received from a clinic. She has a degenerative disc disease and severe back pain, so she gets large doses of ibuprofen, along with a safe supply of hydromorphone, but continues to use fentanyl.
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire..
Right after she shot up with heroin/fentanyl, ALANA says she has a degenerative disc disease and severe back pain. She gets large doses of ibuprofen, along with a safe supply of hydromorphone, but continues to use fentanyl.
© David Tesinsky/ZUMA Wire
ZUMA Press contract Photographer David Tesinsky

ZUMA Press contract Photographer David Tesinsky was born in Prague in the Czech Republic and he specializes in covering subcultures, 'people’s stories' and unusual social topics. In 2018 David started teaching a photojournalism class at Prague College. His assignments have taken him around the globe. (Credit Image: © ZUMAPRESS.com):755



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