Episode 11: The Year That Nothing Happened

Dean Wilson—a Crackdown editorial board member and  elder statesman of Vancouver’s drug user movement—thinks 2019 might be his most disappointing year as an activist. “We’ve accomplished absolutely fucking nothing, I’m incredibly depressed about it,” he recently told Garth Mullins. 

“2019, will be known to me as the year that nothing happened.” 

Dean’s right. We haven’t had a big win in a while. And 2019 feels a bit like a depressing blur. But it was also a year where we fought back. In the last Crackdown episode of the year, we tell four stories about surviving the drug war. Each story is one small moment–something that might otherwise be forgotten. Maybe these stories can tell us something about where we are now—and what we need to do in 2020. 

A full transcript of this episode will be available in a couple of days.

Today’s episode featured the song “Fuck You Pigs” by Trey Helton’s band The Fuck You Pigs. You can listen here: 

Jeff Louden’s arm, covered in Tagaderm. Photo by Garth Mullins.

Jeff Louden on Fentanyl Substitution Therapy. 

“I understand there are a lot of questions in regards to the Fentanyl [Substitution Therapy] program after the airing of December’s Crackdown. 

I am on 700 mcg/hr right now and find it works a fuck lot better than anything else I’ve tried. I’m on it for chronic pain. I’ve also spent many years wired to down. But as you know, finding good heroin is a nightmare. Because fentanyl is cheaper to make, dealers are now selling it instead and making a killing because they charge the same price as down. 

The [Vancouver Fentanyl Substation Treatment] program is very new. There are only eight people on it. If you are interested, bug your doctor. 

Before starting this, I was on 1600 ml of slow release oral morphine, which didn’t really work. I still had to do a quarter of down most mornings just to function. The doctors know I have a high tolerance, so I started out on 300 mcg/hr [of fentanyl patches] and 10 Dilly 8’s [hydromorphone 8mg]. Every week you can get a 50 mcg/hr raise until you are comfortable. The largest patch is only 100 mcg/hr, so it took a couple months to get a comfortable dose. Don’t panic though, that’s what all the Dillies are there for, so you don’t suffer. 

As far as I know, I’m on the highest dose. Everyone is different. The patches are changed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The patches are supposed to be good for 72 hours, but I call bullshit. When you first start out it takes 12 hours for it to start working. It stores up in your fat cells. I wonder if you get real fat on it then go on a crash diet, if you will get fried. “ 

Sam Fenn interviews Samona Marsh and Kevin Yake upstairs at the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users. Photo by Alexander Kim.

Garth Mullins sits with Ollie.  Photo by Dexter McMillan. 

This episode discusses suicide. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or know someone who is, you can reach out for help here: 



Crackdown is produced on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.  

Thank you to Nathan Crompton, Ivan Drury, Andrea Woo, Samara Mayer, and Andrew Ivsins.

Our Editorial Board is: Samona Marsh, Shelda Kastor, Greg Fess, Jeff Louden, Dean Wilson, Dave Murray, Al Fowler, Laura Shaver.  Rest in Peace Chereece Keewatin. 

Crackdown‘s host, writer and executive producer is Garth Mullins. 

Crackdown’s senior producer is Sam Fenn. 

Crackdown‘s producers are  Alexander Kim, Lisa Hale, Polly Leger and this month, Alex de Boer.

Crackdown‘s science advisor is Ryan McNeil, now of Yale University.

All of the music on today’s program was composed, preformed, and produced by Sam Fenn, Jacob Dryden, Kai Paulson, James Ash and Garth Mullins. Our theme song was written by Garth and  Sam with accompaniment from Dave Gens and Ben Appenheimer.  

We make this podcast with funds from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. And from our Patreon supporters. You can support us at Patreon.com/crackdownpod

Follow us on twitter @crackdownpod. Our website is: crackdownpod.com.