A Victoria woman is scheduled to run across BC in May to protest the government’s slow action to stop illicit drug deaths.
Jessica Michalofsky’s son, Aubrey, died last year in Nelson when he lost his ability to carry methadone after sharing his safe supply.
She says losing his supply led to him leaving the program and eventually to his death.
Michalofsky says the purpose of making the 700 kilometer journey is to foster support for awareness of illicit supply and hold the government accountable.
“I think there is a lot more awareness that can be raised,” she says. “One of the reasons the government was able to get so many people to rally behind COVID-19 is because they made it a public awareness campaign.
“We were showered with information, webpages, press releases and public service announcements. I think this is what we need to do in this situation.”
She says the government’s actions speak louder than words and the number of rising deaths continue to show just how seriously they are taking this growing crisis.
“The government’s inaction, or small bits of action convey to the public that this is not a problem,” she says. “When in fact six people dying a day from this province is alarming and people should be alarmed.”
Michalofsky says support to raise awareness around safe supply has been overwhelming, and she appreciates it, but what is really needed are people to participate and get involved throughout the journey.
“I would really like to see people come out and either run, or walk, alongside us as we travel through places like Grand Forks, Hope, Duncan and so on.
“Show people who use drugs that we care about them, and that we are not sentencing them to certain death.”
She is calling her run Aubrey’s Marathon a Day.
“To battle systemic stigma, we need access to information,” Michalofsky said in a press release. “We need to band together. If the government is slow to act, we will step in and help ourselves.”
The BC coroner said there were 2,272 suspected drug toxicity deaths last year, nearly beating the record of 2,306 people who died in 2021.
Michalofsky ran over 900 kilometers around the Ministry of Health in Victoria during the fall of 2022 to protest the inaction of the government around illicit drug death.