Gary Charron stands next to his photo from the Island Health’s PhotoVoices Project. ‘We do have normal clothes and hair. We come from the middle class. We’re just average people — we could be anybody. They’re carrying their living. It looks like they’re waiting for something, but it isn’t a bus,’ he writes in a caption for his photo.

Island Health PhotoVoice project, depicts life of those with lived experience

As part of the United Way Overdose Prevention Expo

Garry Charron, dressed in clean shorts, sandals and a camouflage hoodie listened intently to the opening statements at the United Way Overdose Prevention Expo held on May 8 at the Bay Centre.

Charron was there as part of Island Health’s PhotoVoice Project, which brought together nine Victoria residents with lived experiences wanting to counter the images used in the media to portray the overdose crisis.

RELATED: United Way Overdose Prevention Expo comes to Victoria

The photos were displayed at a booth during the Expo, showcasing 18 different organizations from the Greater Victoria area ready to educate the passing public on the opioid crisis at hand in one of four categories; information, harm reduction, recovery and youth services.

With a goal of envisioning a new way to represent the opioid epidemic, Charron’s photos depicted the “drug world, homelessness, hard-to-do and sad [life on the streets].”

RELATED: Special Report: Living with addiction while saving others during the opioid crisis

Charron has nine months of sobriety under his belt and is taking recovery one day at a time. He says he can relate to the feeling of hopelessness that is apparent in his photos.

He says that while his recovery is difficult to talk about, he believes the city needs to find more and better ways to help the struggling population in Victoria.

“The person in that position has what? Nothing. What have they got to look forward to? Nothing,” says Charron. “It’s just a look of hopelessness — I can relate — fortunately I have some support, that poor bugger doesn’t. This town needs to wake up and give people like that support.”



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

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