Filmmaker takes toxic drug crisis documentary to B.C. MLAs

Click to play video: 'B.C. MLAs to screen “Toxic” drug documentary'
B.C. MLAs to screen “Toxic” drug documentary
It's a documentary with a goal of saving lives. Several MLAs will be on hand in Victoria on Wednesday night for the sold out screening of 'Toxic" - a look at B.C.'s deadly drug crisis. Kylie Stanton has more on what sparked the film and the stigma it hopes to help overcome – May 22, 2024

Two B.C. MLAs were in attendance Wednesday night for a sold-out screening of Toxic, a new documentary looking at the province’s deadly drug crisis.

The drug crisis claimed an average of six lives a day in B.C., amounting to more than 2,500 people in 2023 alone.

The new film is an attempt to go beyond those statistics to show the real human cost.

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“The reason we started this film was to save lives,” said director and producer Rob Colbourne.

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“We are all affected by it in one way or another, and this was our way of doing something.”

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The film is a raw and honest look at B.C.’s drug crisis.

Produced and directed by Colbourne, a Global BC camera operator, it attempts to get to the human truth behind the epidemic.

“This just is your neighbour, family member, friend,” harm reduction and recovery expert Guy Fellicella told Global News.

“It’s not just something you’ll see in the downtown eastside of Vancouver. It is really everywhere.”

Click to play video: 'Impact of toxic drug crisis on students'
Impact of toxic drug crisis on students

The filmmakers spent four years collecting the stories of people struggling with addiction, first responders, advocates and family members.

Those years of work aimed at humanizing a crisis that is all too often boiled down to grim monthly numbers.

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“Stigma is just as deadly as the drugs themselves in our society,” Felicella said.

“How we view people who are struggling is the main reason why people don’t reach out for support and ask for help, so, that’s on us to do better.”

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The filmmakers invited MLAs in B.C.’s capital regional district to its sold-out Wednesday screening.

Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau was also scheduled to moderate a panel, aimed at broadening the discussion.

“We really did want to bring this to … the neighbourhood where decisions are being made to respond to this crisis,” Furstenau said.

“There are very loud voices that are trying to make this a one-size-fits-all crisis and it is not.”

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Colbourne hopes the film can be shown in high schools across the province to help educate young people about the reality of B.C.’s drug crisis.

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