Business collective standing up for ‘Each+Every’ person experiencing drug use


A collective of Alberta businesses is trying to change the way people see drug use.

Each+Every launched earlier this spring in Calgary, and now has close to 60 members from Lethbridge to Lacombe, and Penhold to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Leadership team member Shanika Abeysinghe, owner of Calgary-based Bessie, says step one is to reduce stigma by bringing the business community together towards a common goal.

“One of the things we quickly recognized is that as business owners, we can move things along a lot faster when we bring our voices together to draw attention to something,” says Abeysinghe.

“Our first campaign is sending stickers to our registered businesses, which let people know if they want or need help, they can go into that location. The next step is to find funding for naloxone training of business staff in these high traffic areas.”

Naloxone data isn’t yet available for 2021, but Q3 and Q4 of 2020 were the highest ever for naloxone kits given out province-wide at 28,991 and 26,282, respectively, according to the Alberta Substance Use Surveillance System.

As of the end of 2020, there were 335 sites in Central Zone registered to administer naloxone, fourth among the five health zones. Central Zone had the third highest rate of drug poisoning deaths in the first two months of 2021.

While many business owners are reasonably frustrated with the social and economic impacts of drug use in their neighbourhoods, Abeysinghe says almost all are at least willing to have a conversation when approached by Each+Every.