Carnegie Community Centre

Therese Andre / Paul du Buf

2/6/20231 min read

Vancouver, June 2017

Inside a centuries old heritage building, once a library, anchored on a tented street, tenanted by homeless people most of whom where substance abusers, I worked as a volunteer. Fielding questions from those who wandered in, setting up phone calls for me, placing meals on their tables and doing the dishes put me in the front line. As part of my training, I watched a video of drug addicts relaying their experiences with taking illicit substances. It was surprising to hear their reactions to similar drugs played out on opposite ends of a continuum. The first report of drug taking, was described as providing a deep relaxation effect. Conversely, another person stated she experienced random and wildly involuntary physical movements of which she had no control. Powerless in her ability to manage these reactions. This represented catharsis, a physical release of movement to which the drug user succumbed to.