A Victoria mother who has been running a marathon a day outside of the Ministry of Health building downtown has accepted an invitation from B.C.’s mental health and addictions ministry to discuss her concerns.
Since starting her unique protest in October, Jessica Michalofsky has run the equivalent of 14 marathons — a total distance of 591 kilometres — around the government building as she fights to have her message heard.
She launched the marathon after her 25-year-old son Aubrey died from the toxic drug crisis that has been plaguing the province for the last several years.
Michalofsky told CHEK News at the time she launched her efforts her son was only exposed to the black market drug supply for five weeks when he took a dose that ultimately proved fatal. She says if Aubrey could have found a safer supply of drugs he would have used it — and would likely still be alive today.
Her commitment to the marathon has now gained the attention of the provincial government, with Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson agreeing to meet with her this Thursday.
“I’m not terribly optimistic, only based on what I’ve seen of the ministry so far,” Michalofsky told CHEK News Monday.
“It seems like a hesitation to do things. If that’s because there is a lack of evidence to base expansion of a safer drug supply, then I would say during COVID we expedited the way we reacted to COVID because we saw the need was great and I would say in this situation there is evidence to support safer supply and we should try novel treatments to stop the deaths.”
Michalofsky has said the province’s current “safe supply” practice of providing drug users with prescription medications instead of their drug of choice isn’t effective.
She’s also planning a safe supply rally Friday in front of the Ministry of Health building she has been running around, to continue to pressure the province to take more action on the overdose crisis that has killed nearly 1,500 people in B.C. between January and August 2022. At that rate — six deaths per day — the number of toxic drug-related deaths is estimated to be around 1,800 so far this year.
In the past 10 years, 12,047 British Columbians people have succumbed to toxic drugs.