August 29, 2012

THE WAR STOPS HERE! Ending drug prohibition in the DTES and beyond

- A Community Dialogue -
Saturday, Sept 22, 2012
9:30 am – 6:00 pm
Oppenheimer Park, Downtown Eastside
Vancouver, BC
Unceded Coast Salish Territory

VANDU War Stops Here Event September 2012
Drug Prohibition uses criminalization as a means to reduce or eliminate the production, distribution and use of certain substances. As a social policy, it has been a costly failure. The financial and material resources necessary to implement it are staggering, and the various human and social costs to individuals, families and communities caught in the drug war are devastating. The persistence of prohibition, despite its obvious futility, indicates that it serves other purposes or interests. It has long functioned as a tool of race and class based social control, legitimized the expansion of the state’s militarized policing powers, and been used to justify and fund imperialist intervention and proxy wars.

On the local front, the Downtown Eastside has borne the wounds, fractures, diseases and deaths that prohibition produces, and its residents carry the alienating stigma that criminalization generates. Overdose deaths, murdered and missing women, the spread of HIV/AIDS and Hep C, child apprehensions, needless incarceration, daily police harassment and intimidation –all flow from living under the regime of drug prohibition.

It’s time to move beyond prohibition towards a framework that recognizes the desire for altered states of consciousness as a normal part of human behaviour, that develops drug policy based on public health and social justice, and that begins to address the social roots of addiction. We need to set drug use within the framework of collective self-determination and social justice not punishment and exclusion.

The Downtown Eastside has long been ground zero for the war on drugs, but it is also the site of some of the most powerful and dynamic challenges to the paradigm of prohibiton. The drug war began here over a century ago; now it’s time to stop it here.

This community gathering will open up space for popular education and dialogue around prohibition and build momentum toward strategies for social change.

Special guest speaker: Deborah Peterson SmallDeborah Small is Executive Director of Break the Chains, an organization that seeks to build a national movement within communities of color against punitive drug policies. Break the Chains’ ultimate goal is to implement progressive drug reform policies that promote racial justice and human rights. Before assuming her position at Break the Chains, she was Director of Public Policy for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Sponsored by:
Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users
Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society
Canadian Drug Policy Coalition
End Prohibition Project

May 10, 2012
Full Review of B.C.s Methadone Maintenance Treatment system finally obtained

It took a Freedom of Information request, and then a Freedom of Infomation appeal, before VANDU was finally able to get the full draft version of a report on B.C.'s methadone maintenance system which VANDU members actually participated in.

In 2008, B.C.s Ministry of Healthy Living commission the Centre for Addiction Research of BC to undertake a systems review of methadone maintenance treatment in B.C. In March 2010, Tessa Parkes, PhD, a research fellow at CARBC, finally produced a full draft of her report. The Ministry only publically released a summary of the report (this summary was the only version of the report that VANDU could obtain, prior to freedom of information request/appeal).

Why was the Ministry not making this full report easily available? Is it too rightly critical of the methadone system in B.C.? One thing that's very odd about it being so difficult for VANDU to obtain the full report, is that on the report's Acknowledgements page, Dr. Parkes actually writes:

Special thanks to the VANDU Women CARE Study Team and Steering Group for permission to use the VANDU Women CARE findings related to methadone and to the Positive Women's Network for permission to use data from their focus group on MMT.
Finally in 2012, following Freedom of Information request/appear, you can get a copy of the full 2010 report, British Columbia Methadone Maintence Treatment Program : A Qualitative Systems Review, here

April 21, 2012
VANDU's Projects Peer-Reviewed Reports

Over the past decade VANDU has undertaken a number of ground-breaking peer projects to help protect the health and well-being of people who use drugs in the Downtown Eastside. These projects include the establishment of an unsanctioned safer consumption site, an unsanctioned syringe exchange, injection support teams, and regular alley patrols. As well as the work contributed to provide such services, VANDU recognized the value in having their projects peer-reviewed so as to provide evidence-based research establishing the validity and value of such projects.

You can download the projects peer-reviewed reports individually from the Reports & Media page or all-together as a ZIP file

March 26, 2012
Celebrate release of NAOMI Patients Association report
Saturday March 31 noon at VANDU office

For the past year, the NAOMI Patients Association (NPA) meets Saturdays at the VANDU office. NPA is comprised of people who were in the heroin-stream of the NAOMI clinical trials. As a peer group, NPA has produced their recommendations and observations about their experiences as the first group of people to receive heroin-assisted treatment in the modern era in North America.
Read more here
Download this excellent report here

July 1, 2011
Methadone Mainenance in B.C. - System Review Summary

Tessa Parkes and Dan Reist, with the Centre for Addictions Research B.C., University of Victoria, undertook a "comprehensive qualitative review of BC‘s methadone maintenance treatment program from the perspective of a wide variety of stakeholders". Released in April 2011, you can download the Review Summary here.

June 23, 2011
VANDU protest 40 years of war on drug(user)s

In solidarity with Students for Sensible Drug Policy, VANDU members took to the streets to hold a protest and vigil against 40 years of the war on drugs and drug users. Declaring "We’re fed up with these disastrous policies – Our governments MUST finally end this shockingly wasteful, counterproductive war."
VANDU street protest
See videos of the protest and vigil here

June 20, 2011
Fentanyl - Preparing it carefully

Several people have died or experienced near fatal overdoses when using fentanyl patches for injection. This preventable phenomena has happened in communities right across Canada, from Cape Breton to the West Coast and places in between. Recently the user group in Montreal, ADDICQ, prepared a spin-off leaflet to inform people of safer ways to prepare fentanyl and to calculate the dose. Download the leaflet (English and French) here

May 3, 2011
VANDU wins award for Excellence in Community Programming

The Kaiser Foundation has choosen VANDU as recipient of their 2011 Excellence in Community Programming award. Accompanying this honour VANDU receives $10,000 for a recognized charity of its choice.

“Mental health and addictions are health issues, not moral ones,” said the Foundation’s Founder and Chairman Edgar Kaiser Jr. “The recipients always amaze me,” continued Kaiser. “One of the main reasons we established this Awards Program was to acknowledge and celebrate the extraordinary work being done in this field by individuals, community groups and the media. These people often get little or no recognition for their efforts and we hope that shining a light on their work will help raise awareness of mental health and addictions locally and nationally.”

February 21, 2011
VANDU host radio show on drug users' health

You can download a copy of the VANDU hosted program on drug user health on the People's Health Radio at The program was created on February 17, 2011.

January 27, 2011
Dave Murray - VANDU and BCYADWS Member Demonstates in DTES

Dave Murray DTES Demo

January 17, 2011
Lorna Bird - Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society

January 12, 2011
Drug Bust Statistics Canada 1997-2007

From looking through these statistics one sees the myth that Canadian police aren't really busting people for possession. As well, one can see the increasing criminalization of children. Most useful and revealing is the table of types of drug busts for various metropolitan areas. In total, 7 documents in ZIP file download.

December 2, 2010
Our target should be the decision-makers who put politics above evidence and are prepared to take risks with other people's lives.

Gerry Stimson, former Executive Director of the International Harm Reduction Association (IRHA), recently gave a important speech in which he defended harm reduction from political revisionism and properly asserted "A harm reduction approach to drug use is still relevant". You can download a .pdf copy of Professor Stimson's speech or watch a video of it entirely here.

While importantly Stimson emphasises that it is important to still work on reducing the harms that drug users risk in the context of their drug using (overdose, HIV or Hep C, impoverishment, violence, marginalization, etc.) it is equally necessary that we begin to regard decision-makers who put politics above evidence (Canada's Conservative's are a prime example of such) as major harm causers and risk takers with the live's of people who use drugs. In other words, rather than always trying to change the behaviour of the powerless (the drug users) it is time we started focussing our efforts to change the behaviour of the powerful (political decision makers).

The example of Vancouver's change in the political risk environment is emphasized in Stimson's speech. He notes that in two years the political climate changed from risk in supporting a safer injection site to risk as a politician if they didn't support the opening of InSite. He considers some of the factors which came together in Vancouver to make such a transformation in the political risk environment possible, emphasizing among other factors, "the peer-run Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users".

November 6, 2010
VANDU history: civil disobedience necessary in fight for safer injection site

In April 2003 VANDU worked with other community groups in the Downtown Eastside to establish and run a safer injection site. It took a bold effort of civil disobedience to create the unauthorized site at 327 Carral Street. Staffed by street nurses and other volunteers, the city's mayor had no problem with the site, however the police chief was opposed and threatened to shut it down. By forcing the issue of safer injection sites, VANDU helped apply pressure on the federal government to approve the establishment of North America's first official sanctioned safer injection site, InSite, four months later.
Download news article "Militants open safe injection site" here

Further reading about VANDU's safe site civil disobedience, see Harm Reduction Activism

October 28, 2010
VANDU develops manifesto for drug users' liberation

Numerous VANDU members have contributed their ideas toward the development of a manifesto for drug users' liberation. In their manifesto, VANDU clearly articulates the cutting edge of their positions on issues which the international movement for rights for people who use drugs must recognize for that movement to be a genuine means for grass-roots representation by drug users of the daily issues they face and liberation objectives they strive for.

Entitled "VANDU MANIFESTO for a Drug User Liberation Movement" it is a document in progress. Download the current working verion from July 2010 in Word format here

October 18, 2010
3 more background documents

Susan Boyd has written a short article about the early development of the first women-centered harm reduction project in the Downtown Eastside. In this article entitled "Journey to Compassionate Care" Susan outlines the herstory of DAMS - Drug and Alcohol Meeting Support for Women - which began in 1991.
Download word document here

"Prison Needle Exchange: review of the evidence" was prepared by the Public Health Agency of Canada in April 2006 for the Correctional Service of Canada. In its role as a provider of evidence-based research for the government, PHAC outlines the evidence of more than 50 prison needle exchange outcomes around the world, including programmes in Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine and Iran. The Canadian authorities, even while presented with strong evidence showing no negative outcomes from prison needle exchange, remain committed to not allowing such harm reduction possibility for Canadian prisoners.
Download word document here

"25 Year Quagmire: the War on Drugs and its impact on American Society" was prepared by the American-based Sentencing Project and released in September 2007. This report demonstrates how the war on drugs has been the primary vehicle driving the enormous growth of the U.S. prison system over the past quarter century. Given the present Conservative government's intention of bolstering the drug war in Canada, increasing sentences for drug-related offences, and a multi-billion dollar expansion of prison facilities in this country, this report is a clear warning for what we can expect from the punative moralistic based absurdity which is the federal Conservatives drug policy.
Download PDF report here

October 14, 2010
Methadone Maintenance Treatment in B.C., 1996-2008 - Analysis and Recommendations

The Centre for Addictions Research of B.C. and the B.C. Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport have released a succinct review of developments in methadone maintenance in B.C. over the past 12 years. The lead author of this document is Dan Reist, an Assistant Director and senior policy analysist with the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C..

Download the 20 page PDF here

June 13, 2010
VANDU's Pedestrian Safety Project Final Report released

Pedestrian Safety Project logo

VANDU's eight month Pedestrian Safety Project has completed and produced its 84 page final report and appendixes.

Over 80 community members participated in the Project's initial data collection phases, which was followed by four months of daily community outreach to educate community members about their risks as pedestrian's in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.

Altogether the Pedestrian Safety Project galvanized over 2,000 volunteer hours in undertaking this important community project. VANDU would like to take the opportunity here to shout out a big "thank you" to everyone who assisted in the Project's success.

VANDU's employed some creative tactics in its community education outreach to encourage motorists to drive more slowly and carefully through the DTES's streets.

As well as the full Final Report and Appendixes linked above, a Summary of the Project was also released. You can download the Summary Report here

June 5, 2010
Crack smoking is a risk factor for HIV infection

A study reported in the Canadian Medical Association's Journal in 2009 finds that crack smoking is a factor in HIV transmission among people who use injection drugs. The study looked at data from 1996 to 2005 among some 1048 injection drug users in Vancouver who also reported smoking crack cocaine.

This is how the study's authors summarized its findings:

Smoking of crack cocaine was found to be an independent risk factor for HIV seroconversion among people who were injection drug users. This finding points to the urgent need for evidence-based public health initiatives targeted at people who smoke crack cocaine.

Download the study entitled "Smoking of crack cocaine as a risk factor for HIV infection among people who use injection drugs" here.

May 18, 2010
World Hepatitis Day Rally - - VANDU and BCYADWS
On May 18 VANDU and B.C. Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors (social media site) held a rally in Abbottsford. Abbottsford is a local community which is currently very behind the times with regard to harm reduction services and both organizations are working to change that for the betterment of both the community and the drug users living in it.

VANDU and BCYADWS members are speaking at the rally in these videos:

See a bunch more VANDU-related videos here and here

May 6, 2010
March for Dignity, Human Rights and Social Justice for People on Welfare

welfare         welfare

The latest Provincial Budget made major cuts to welfare including cuts to dietary allowance for people with chronic illness, dental care and the $75 ‘comfort allowance’ (in lieu of rent) for homeless people.

Changes also include legislation to deny welfare and disability to an undetermined number of people who have warrants for indictable offenses. Indictable offenses include minor theft (theft under), drug possession and charges related to immigration and refugee status. Under this legislation people who have been accused (but not convicted!) of criminal offenses anywhere in Canada will be kicked off welfare.

People on welfare in BC are already living in extreme poverty because welfare rates are so low. These changes make us poorer, place strain on already struggling families and communities, and further undermine our ability to participate as full and equal members of society.

Let’s join together to stop the cruel and punitive cuts to welfare and to demand dignity, social justice and human rights for people on welfare!

Organized by VANDU – Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users

Supported by Carnegie Community Action Project, Raise the Rates, Organizing Centre for Social and Economic Justice.

April 2, 2010
Effects of Drug Law Enforcement on Drug-Related Violence

The Urban Health Research Initiative has released a "scientific review":

The hypothesis was that the existing scientific evidence would demonstrate an association between drug law enforcement expenditures or intensity and reduced levels of violence...
Contrary to our primary hypothesis, 13 (87%) studies reported a likely adverse impact of drug law enforcement on levels of violence. That is, most studies found that increasing drug law enforcement intensity resulted in increased rates of drug market violence...
The available scientific evidence suggests that increasing law enforcement interventions to disrupt drug markets is unlikely to reduce drug gang violence. Instead, the existing evidence suggests that gun violence and high homicide rates are likely a natural consequence of drug prohibition and that increasingly sophisticated methods of disrupting Canadian gangs involved in drug distribution could unintentionally increase violence. From an evidence-based public policy perspective, gun violence and the enrichment of organized crime networks appear to be natural consequences of drug prohibition.

Given the Federal Conservatives' push for greater enforcement and longer sentencing (Bill C-15) this research demonstrates how the Conservatives are determining policy accoring to a flawed indeological bias rather than by evidence-based consideration.

In light of evidence-based findings, the Transform Drug Policy Foundation in the U.K. has produced a comprehensive document exploring the possibilities of a regulated market non-prohibitionist approach as an alternative to the failed "war on drugs" policy which our federal government still embraces. Visit their website to obtain After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation

Download a copy of the Urban Health Research Initiative's report on Drug Law Enforcement and Drug-Related Violence here

Putting Sting to the War on Drugs
On a positive note, former Police (front)man Sting has spoken out in support for Health-Based Drug Policies and an End to the Failed Drug War at the popular Huffington Post website. He says the drug war is "actively harming our society" and states he considers ending the war on drugs as a struggle for "social justice". Sting will be demostrating his commitment by serving as a board member of the Drug Policy Alliance.

March 30, 2010
2 Documents added - Drugs in Vancouver and Harm Reduction Activism

The Urban Health Research Initiative has released a report on the Drug Situation in Vancouver. You can download the document here.

unsanction safer injection site

A critical step in the stuggle for a safer injection site in Vancouver was undertaken by users running an unsanctioned user-run safer injection site at 327 Carrol Street in the Downtown Eastside for 191 days beginning in April 2003. A report entitled "Harm Reduction Activism" studies this unique, unprecedented and historic undertaking in the history of drug user activism. Download the report here.

March 24, 2010
Lawyer John Conroy addresses Senate Committee on how VANDU court case relates to proposed Bill C-15

View John Conroy addressing Senate Committee video here

February 14, 2010
Howard S. Lotsof, User Activist and Ibogaine Advocate, passes away

A wonderful friend of the drug user movement worldwide, and a life-long drug user activist, Howard S. Lotsof passed away from liver cancer at age 67 in Staten Island, New York on January 31, 2010. Howard is survived by his wife of many decades, Norma.

Knowing that Howard's cancer would soon be fatal, in March 2009 there was a tribute gathering for Howard at Sayulita, Mexico, in which Howard was able to participate and present A Story of My Life and Years.

Howard Lotsof and Norma, Copenhagen, November 2008
Howard and Norma at the International Conference
on Drug User Activism in Copenhagen, November 2008
(click picture to enlarge)

Howard was active in user-focused and drug policy conferences and was the world's leading non-African proponent of ibogaine treatment for opiate depedency. Howard first discovered ibogaine's properties in the mid-1960's when he used it himself and discovered he was able to stop using heroin without any withdrawal symptoms. Download a presentation Howard gave at 2008 Drug User Activism Conference entitled The Ibogaine Community Worldwide - User to User

Howard was the president and founding member of the Dora Weiner Foundation "to encourage and promote public knowledge of research in the study of chemical dependence and substance-related disorders and to advocate for the rights of patients being treated for dependence to drugs"; he was a board member of NAMA (National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery); he helped to found and maintain The Ibogaine Dossier, an extensive online library dedicated to providing information on ibogaine, an experimental antiaddictive medication; and he was the recepient of many awards for his work on behalf of medically-assisted treatment for opiate users, such as the Award for Achievement in the Field of Citizen Action at the Drug Policy Alliance Conference in November 2009.

Howard was a wonderful human being, and as such, a sensitive, caring and committed social activist. Please download a brief obituary.

See Howard's obit in the New York Times

February 7, 2010
Poverty Olympics Torch Relay starts at VANDU office

Grinding poverty and growing homelessness are happening despite some bold promises to create a positive Olympic legacy — promises such as building more social housing, reducing homelessness, and not displacing poor people to make way for Olympics-driven development.

Poverty Olympics poster

February 4, 2010
VANDU in New York Times Olympic's background article
VANDU was mentioned in a New York Times article entitled "In the Shadow of the Olympics". Accompanying the article is a slideshow called "Welcome to the Downtown Eastside".
To view the article and slideshow, click NY Times article

February 2, 2010
VANDU creates a Facebook page
If you are using Facebook, please visit VANDU's Facebook page and become a Fan. Click on the icon.
Facebook icon

February 1, 2010
VANDU partners with Safe Games 2010

Safe Games 2010 is a consortium of over 30 Vancouver based organizations who provide harm reduction based services in the community. SafeGames 2010 seeks to educate people who may not be aware of the risks of their own behaviour, to highlight the Vancouver’s reputation as a global leader in innovative harm reduction policies and practices, and to support the ongoing work of the many organisations working to provide solutions to Vancouver’s public health challenges. VANDU is one of the partners in this consortim.

Visit the Safe Games 2010 website

VANDU updates basic pamphlet

VANDU's basic pamphlet for handout outlines our mission, what's going on around VANDU, and how to become a member.
Copies are available at the VANDU office (380 E. Hastings).
Or please download .pdf version of our updated pamphlet here

Abusing the User

Well documented report about police misconduct towards injection drug users in Vancouver.
Abusing the User: Police Misconduct, Harm Reduction and HIV/AIDS in Vancouver originally appeared in the May 2003 edition of Human Rights Watch journal.
Download available here.

January 21, 2010
Article and video coverage of Penny's memorial in the Abbotsford News. Read here

Penny Jodway Memorial
Memorial for Drug War Survivors member on January 19, 2010

Penny Jodway Memorial poster

InSite safe for now
Appeal Court upholds Pitfield Ruling, January 15, 2010

The federal government appealed the 2008 Pitfield ruling which essentially ruled that drug users rights to health is fundamentally more important that laws against drugs. Now the B.C. Appeal Court has upheld that original ruling. Although the Feds are likely to appeal again to the Federal Supreme Court this latest Appeal Court ruling is surely a victory for the right of drug users to relevant health services.
Read the full 110 page ruling here

Bud Osborn reading his poetry
Drug Users Health Summit, June 12, 2009

Bud Osborn at Drug Users Health Summit from vandu on Vimeo.

JUNK MAIL - magazine produced by Australian drug users organization

The Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) is the national, umbrella organization which represents all the local and regional user groups in Australia. It is responsible for developing national policy, lobbying the federal government, and many other things, including the production of the organization's magazine, JUNK MAIL.

AIVl Junk Mail #11     AIVL Junk Mail #12

AIVL has an excellent website at which you can download all 13 issues of JUNK MAIL.

JUNK MAIL is entirely user produced. As they say "for users, by users". It has a very high production value, and each issue is crammed full of valuable information. Some articles are of general interest - such as describing Hep C, whereas other articles are specifically meant for users - how to prepare a whack of whiz. You can download JUNK MAIL here.

Drug Users' Charter of Rights

10 specific, detailed rights for drug users were elaborated by Russell Newcombe, researcher for Lifeline in the U.K., at a conference in 2007. Since then this documents has formed the basis for much discussion about the establishment of structured societal protection for drug users.
Drug Users' Charter of Rights document download

No to Ticketing in the DTES

VANDU members speak out against the Vancouver Police Department
ticketing the poor in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.

Police are ticketing people for jay-walking, leaving the sidewalk, smoking in a doorwar, and other petty offences. Fines quickly add up to the hundreds of dollars and police levy such fines knowing full well the individuals issued tickets will be unable to afford such fines. Since there is no diversion option, such as community service, people end up doing months of jail time due to unpaid jay-walking tickets.

Vandu's Employment Service

Vandu's Empowerment logo

Vandu has created a social enterprise employment service for its members.

VANDU Empowerment's purpose is to do the work that other companies lack the expertise to do and, if left undone would add to the misery and hardship of marginalized people.

VANDU Empowerment employs VANDU members to perform many of their services and its services range from preparing rooms for pest control to consulting services.

VANDU Empowerment donates 75% of its pre-tax profits to VANDU to help VANDU carry out its mission to improve the lives of people who use illicit drugs through user-based peer support and education.

Please get in touch with our Empowerment service here

New Book About DTES Organizing
August 2009
RAISE SHIT! Social Action Saving Lives

Raise Shit! book cover
This book tells a story about community activism in Vancouver's Downtown East Side (DTES) that culminated in a social justice movement to open the first official safe injection site.
This story is unique: it is told from the point of view of drug users - those most affected by drug policy, political decisions and policing. It provides a montage of poetry, photos, early Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) meetings, journal entries from the Back Alley, the "unofficial" safe injection site, and excerpts from significant health and media reports.
The harms of prohibition, and resistance, hope, kindness, awakening and collective action are chronicled in these pages.
Download document about Raise Shit! book.
Publisher's website


pacific summit logo

VANDU hosted the Pacific Summit on Drug User Health at the Delta Hotel on Hastings Street. Bringing together some 100 user activists from all over B.C. and the Yukon for three days of discussion and workshops. Summit concluded with the formation of the BC/Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors.

A comprehensive report entitled Health Status of People Who Use Illicit Drugs in British Columbia at the Summit was presented at the Summit by VANDU. View Slide Show

Download a short review of the Pacific Summit on Drug User Health: Download PDF

Download "Evaluation Report: Pacific Summit on Drug User Health", 2009. Download PDF


Robb Johannes, Executive Director of VANDU, will be in studio on "From A Whisper to a Song" at 1:00 PM PST on Thursday, September 11, 2008 to discuss current issues in harm reduction and the Downtown Eastside. Tune in at 102.7 FM in Vancouver, or worldwide at

8/30/2008: JUSTICE ROCKS!


VANDU will be have an information table at "Justice Rocks," a free one-day benefit concert put on by the Pivot Legal Society, on Saturday, August 30 from 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m. at Stratchona Park (Venables and Raymur, Vancouver).


Members of VANDU will be appearing on "Melodies in Mind" at 8:30 PM PST on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 to discuss VANDU, its operations, and current issues in harm reduction and the Downtown Eastside. Tune in at 90.1 FM in Vancouver, or worldwide at


Join us on Saturday, July 19, 2008 for a two-part celebration of VANDU's first decade of service in the Downtown Eastside.

At 12:00 noon in Oppenheimer Park (Powell and Dunlevy, Vancouver), there will be a ceremonial launch of a memorial acknowledging those who have passed away in the Downtown Eastside, as well as an unveiling of a timeline highlighting VANDU's achievements since 1998.

The ceremony will be followed by guest speakers, including Bud Osborne, founding member of VANDU; Ann Livingston, Executive Program Director of VANDU; Libby Davies, New Democratic Member of Parliament for Vancouver East, and an awards ceremony acknowledging longstanding members of the VANDU community.

Food and refreshments will be served, barbecue-style -- as well as outdoor activities.

The outdoor event will be followed in the evening by:

A Benefit for VANDU's 10-year Anniversary
Featuring performances by:
The Neins Circa, Adrienne Pierce, Ari Shine, Veda Hille,
Paint, and Jesse Matheson and His Midnight Snacks.
Saturday, July 19 @ The Railway Club
579 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver
$10 admission at the door, 8:30 p.m. doors, 19+ with ID

THE NEINS CIRCA caught the attention of The New Pornographers’ Carl Newman who invited the group to support his solo North American tour in 2004, where they opened for Calexico and played legendary venues of the Troubadour in Los Angeles and the Bowery Ballroom in New York. Their second album, Sleeves and Wiggs reached #8 on the CBC Radio 3-30 countdown. In 2007, the Neins Circa signed on with Vancouver-based Copperspine Records.

ADRIENNE PIERCE recently interviewed herself and became her own manager. She was late for the interview but can overlook that since she had all the right answers. She has toured internationally with Jane Sibbery, Damien Rice, and Ray LaMontague, and has had songs appear on Grey’s Anatomy and Veronica Mars. Her most recent release, Faultline, was produced by Jeff Trott (Sherly Crow) and features members of R.E.M., Fiona Apple’s band, and Beck’s band. Her cover of Neil Young’s “Pocahantas” was recently released on Broken Tunes II: A Tribe to Neil Young, which also features 54-40, The Barenaked Ladies, Tom Cochrane, and Raine Maida.

ARI SHINE is a one man guitar pop crusade. Big Take Over calls him “A Paul Stanley/Rick Springfield for the millennium.” This is loud hip shakin’ guitar rock and roll from Los Angeles produced by Earle Mankey (Sparks, Concrete Blonde, Beach Boys, Three O’Clock, etc). Ari Shine co-wrote the Grand Prize Winner (Song Of The Year) at this year’s prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and has written and performed with Jennifer Finch (L7), Kari Krome (Runaways), Martyn Lenoble (Porno for Pyros), Todd Youth (Danzig), Victor Indrizzo (Beck), and co-wrote 6 songs on Australian buzz artist Kara Grangier’s record (including her duet with Amos Lee), featured in Starbucks stores across Australia. This past May, Ari created a sensation at the famous Cavern Club Liverpool, getting special praise from the BBC and gushing UK reviews for the new CD.

VEDA HILLE has been writing, recording, and touring Canada, the UK, and Europe since 1990, and has released an album roughly every 18 months since her 1994 debut album. She writes about the natural world, the trickiness of love, the constant threat of tragedy, and anything else that amazes her. She continues to make her own records, and does so in cahoots with Ape Records, run by XTC’s Andy Partridge. Veda is the in-house composer for Theatre Replacement and collaborates with them on at least one show per year. She has also been performing with the CBC Radio Orchestra.

PAINT makes music in the grand tradition of the finest storytellers, with infectious, pop-infused hooks, clever, thought-provoking narratives. Their debut release “Urban Folk Tales” was praised as “a truly unique first effort held together by frontman Robb Johannes’ strong vocals. He can sing in hushed tones one minute before switching to a full on swagger that would make James Brown proud” (Scene and Heard). The album reached the Top 10 on Canadian campus radio and was featured on UK label E3 Records’ Showcase International compilation after the band was voted fan favourite, beating out the competition by thousands of votes.

JESSE MATHESON AND HIS MIDNIGHT SNACKS - Jesse Matheson's new record Pleasure Pounds (Copperspine Records 2008), is so full of fun, food, sexual innuendo, and sexual food innuendo you're sure to be back for a second helping. Backed by Shawn Killaly on Drums and Lara Farcasan on keys, Jesse takes you on a funny and quirky romantic musical romp through topics such as crushes on women shopping at the grocery store, makin' out, and listing all 23 french words you know to try and get dates and last but not least - food! BYO Napkin.