Inside Vancouver’s Drug User Union

March 19, 2019

The Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) is a member-driven organization that organizes to improve the lives of people who use drugs as well as others in the community. Over 20 years old, VANDU recently was the subject of a short film that won the Vancouver International Film Festival’s Community Impact Video Competition in September 2018.

The brief video captures the group’s community organizing work, which ranges from hosting groups, like the Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society or the BC Association of People on Methadone, to improving conditions in “tent cities.”

“We’re out there to help people use drugs safely,” says board member Simona Marsh in the film, “instead of dying–’cause we’ve lost way, way too many people.”

The short film, directed by Kryshan Randel, also highlights VANDU’s impact on its membership.

“I realized I wasn’t alone. My life changed in that spot. It was like I could see that light and that darkness and weight being lifted,” says Vice President Hugh Lampkin.

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