The Canadian Public Health Association and the Harm Reduction Nurses Association presented a webinar on 24 February 2021 entitled ‘Involuntary Stabilization Care of Youth Who Overdose: More Harm than Good’. As is the case across Canada, the province of British Columbia (BC) is in the midst of an overdose crisis that is having devastating impacts on youth and others who use drugs. Drawing on a published commentary with Canadian Journal of Public Health, advocacy efforts, clinical practice, and lived experience, this presentation provided an overview of BC’s recent proposal to amend the Mental Health Act and sanction involuntary, hospital-based stabilization care of youth who overdose. In the first part of the webinar, the presenters discussed three key areas for public health deliberation related to these proposed legislative changes, including (1) the evidence underpinning involuntary care, (2) ethical considerations, and (3) the potential for unintended and unevenly distributed consequences. In the second part, the presenters reviewed advocacy efforts related to this issue and explored what this turn to mental health law means for youth who use drugs and other stakeholders in BC – and potentially, nationally.
Trevor Goodyear (he/him) is a registered nurse, PhD student in the School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia, and Addiction Medicine Research Fellow with the BC Centre on Substance Use. Trevor has clinical expertise in youth mental health care, and his current work focuses on equity-oriented research with queer and trans youth who use drugs.
Marilou Gagnon (she/her) is an Associate Professor at the School of Nursing, Faculty of Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria and a Scientist at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (CISUR). Her work focuses on harm reduction, nursing practice, and social justice. She is the co-founder and current President of the Harm Reduction Nurses Association.
Kali Sedgemore (they/them) is a PHS Peer supervisor at MOPS (Molson OPS) & MOPU (Mobile OP unit), youth peer support, VCH Peer harm reduction leader & outreach worker, and has been a Harm Reductionist with a focus on youth harm reduction & Stimulants for nine years. Currently, they are sitting president of the Coalition of peers dismantling the drug war (CPDDW). They are indigenous and love meth.