Over 1,500 roses displayed in downtown Victoria to remember BC lives lost to drug overdoses


WATCH: A wall overflowing with roses was in downtown Victoria Wednesday. United Way was hosting the one-of-a-kind event that remembers those who lost their lives to drug overdoses in BC. Aaron Guillen went over to the Bay Centre to find out more.

One life for one flower.

On a wall at the Bay Centre, there are 1,510 of them, each a life lost to drug overdoses in BC in 2018.

One woman says she could’ve easily been one of the people being remembered.

“I’m positive that if I didn’t get clean when I did, I would be one of those flowers on that wall,” says Dreanna Picard, a former drug addict.

The 22-year old has been clean for the past four years.

She now helps others as a frontline mental health and addiction worker.

“This isn’t about shame or guilt,” says Picard.

“We don’t have to be afraid to say that I’m hurting or struggling and it’s awful.”

According to the United Way, almost a hundred people in Greater Victoria died from drug overdoses last year.

“That is a staggering horrifying statistic,” says Mark Breslauer, CEO of United Way Greater Victoria.

“We look at this with some hope and token of remembrance the opioid crisis is truly unignorable.”

Just last week, the Victoria Police and West Shore RCMP arrested a drug trafficker who had 1,000 individual drug packets.

Much of those packages contained fentanyl, destined for Victoria streets.

“I can assure you that we will continue to aggressively target those who import, produce, and distribute these drugs that prey on the most vulnerable people in our society,” says Chief Const. Del Manak from Victoria Police Department.

On Wednesday, almost 20 local organizations are ready to provide harm reduction, youth services, and naloxone training.

“It’s gonna be hard and there are still days that are hard,” says Picard.

“The drugs are always gonna be there, but I have the chance to create the life that I want, and that’s amazing.”

Until then, Dreanna will continue sharing her story.

She hopes that she’ll be able to prevent another rose from being added to the wall.

Aaron GuillenAaron Guillen

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