So, as the story goes, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) -- a temporary income support of $500 a week during the COVID-19 pandemic -- caused the overdose crisis. Or at least contributed to it heavily. This story is used to prop up the idea that giving money to people who use drugs is not in their own best interest (I've even heard it called a "death wish") because they'll use that money to buy a whole bunch of extra drugs, and die.
Friends, this story is startlingly accepted as fact, even among those who work to support people who use drugs.
But it's just not true.
In this post, I'll point to sources that debunk this myth, explain why it is very dangerous, and suggest a new narrative. (Because by now we know that saying, "No, CERB didn't cause the overdose crisis" just gives that false story oxygen. We need a new narrative using new words.)
I'm Jennifer. I am an advocacy and communications strategist working with multiple charities and nonprofits. And I want to disrupt our sector for good.