Cathie built on her past substance use to speak out on behalf of others
Cathie is a peer with our Toronto Community Addiction Team (TCAT). She spoke out at the Toronto Board of Health to support the creation of safe injection sites in downtown Toronto. Part of her deputation follows:
“I started using drugs and needles when I was young. My boyfriend would inject it into me so I didn’t learn to use my own needles until I was into my late 20s. I kept getting abscesses and blood poisoning and had to be hospitalized for weeks.
"I didn’t start using harm reduction services until five years ago. A friend introduced me to a women’s drop-in. I started going for meals instead of starving on the streets. From there I was introduced to harm reduction and TCAT. I have spent the last three years working through my substance use and other issues, and today, I’m three years sober. I am proof that harm reduction works.
"Today I am contributing to my community through peer work with TCAT Because of my experiences, I give people hope that help will be there when they start their journey.
"We lost 206 people from overdose-related deaths in Toronto last year. Help us save lives.”