This is my last portrait of Alan Sayers; artist, friend, drug user.
Alan sat for this photo as we worked together on an explainer video for a nutritional supplement company.
He was a complicated man who was boisterous and always had a crazy story to tell every time we met. Unfortunately he also struggled with addiction. It strained his relationships and affected his work.
Alan died on March 9, 2021 because his drugs were contaminated with fentanyl and carfentanil. These two powerful synthetic opioids have become a scourge on the city of Vancouver, killing hundreds.
Our government refuses to deal with the opioid poisoning crisis and it enrages me. It is like they have this cartoon caricature of what a drug user looks like in their minds. Their solutions are as overly simplistic as, “get them off the drugs.” As if they could just wave a magic wand and make it so.
The unregulated drug supply in British Columbia affects everyone. Every death and injury because of opioid poisoning affects networks of families, friends, and coworkers.
Alan died at the age of 63. He made poor decisions but harm reduction measures would have saved him.
In this last portrait of Alan Sayers, I hope you see his dignity and talent, rather than the drugs by which others would seek to define him.