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Every quarter, Boyle Street Community Services holds a ceremony in memory of those who lost their lives during this period.
In Edmonton , at least 118 people experiencing homelessness died between the end of June and the first week of October.
This is the deadliest quarter since Boyle Street Community Services began tracking deaths in 2020. All 118 deaths recorded were from the Boyle Street community.
The charity, which has been trying to help Edmontonians living in poverty since 1971, held a ceremony in memory of the fallen.
The deceased are mostly men, and First Nations people are over-represented, says Lina Meadows, director of adult programs at Boyle Street.
Most of them died from an opioid overdose. In some cases, taking the opioid was not voluntary, as Lina Meadows recalls. The majority of our fellow citizens are losing their lives needlessly to poisonous drugs, she says.
A 14-year-old boy died from an opioid overdose. He was found outside unconscious.
A quote from Lina Meadows, director of adult programs at Boyle Street Community Services
Lina Meadows points out that other serious social problems impact the community that uses her organization's services, not just drug use. There are also people dying from homelessness, because they don't have access to shelters or resources, she continues.
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Lina Meadows directs adult programs at Boyle Street Community Services.
The arrival of the winter cold worries Lina Meadows. She mentions that last year, a record number of people died due to fires in camps.
For her, the solution is not just in expanding shelters. The demand for supportive housing also remains urgent.
Shanell Twan looks at photos of the dead. She recognizes the faces of those she went to school with, family friends, neighbors and also the Boyle Street commuters she received while working there.
The reality is that we are in the middle of an opioid contamination crisis, says Shanell Twan, who is also a member of two human rights organizations drug addicts.
With information from Paige Parson