The SACH Community Hub team, from left to right: Upkar Singh Tatlay, Gary Thandi, Allysha Ram, Jassy Pandher, Harman Pander. (Submitted photo)

The SACH Community Hub team, from left to right: Upkar Singh Tatlay, Gary Thandi, Allysha Ram, Jassy Pandher, Harman Pander. (Submitted photo)

There’s help for South Asian men wrestling with drug addiction in Surrey

South Asian deaths related to toxic drugs increased by 255 per cent between 2015 and 2018

A local collective of community health advocates have formed a group they call the South Asian Community Hub in an effort to break down barriers to services particularly for South Asian men who are wrestling with drug addiction.

“There is an entire community that has required services that has just gone unnoticed for so long,” said Upkar Singh Tatlay, treasurer and director of SACH, which is temporarily located out of the Dasmesh Darbar Gurdwara at 12885 85th Ave. in Newton. “Once COVID protocols are lifted we will be moving closer to, still in Newton, but more the King George and 72nd area.”

According to SACH, which also means “truth” in Punjabi, a recent report out of the Fraser Health Authority revealed that South Asian men represented 77 per cent of its overdose cases in 2017 and though many South Asians call Surrey home (33 per cent of the population) and 25 per cent in Abbotsford and 20 per cent in Delta, the statistic is “shockingly high.”

Tatlay noted that the data revealed the group suffering from drug addiction “overwhelmingly was male. There are women, but overwhelmingly male.”

Asked why he thinks that is, Tatlay replied that “on the sciences side of things I can’t speculate, but anecdotally there could be numerous factors. Obviously first you have to kind of look at flaws in the data. It could just be cultural factors too.”

READ ALSO: 26 people test positive for COVID-19 at Surrey emergency shelter

Moreover, deaths related to toxic drugs increased in South Asians by 255 per cent between 2015 and 2018 compared to 138 per cent among other residents in the Fraser Health Region, with the number of fatalities increasing to 80 from 20 each year.

Tatlay said there’s “numerous factors” to the disproportion.

“One of the key ones is that it’s a community that just has not received resources and services whether harm reduction, or simple techniques on how to identify an overdose,” he explained. “It’s something that’s so removed from the community in terms of just resources. Not just the South Asian community but any ethnic community has never received information or resources tailored to that community. The communication has lacked.”

It’s partly a language issue, he added, and stigma is also “a huge thing.

“South Asian Community, many ethically diverse communities, stigma around substance use and overdose is quite substantial so these are challenges that we contend with.”

READ ALSO: Surrey councillor says city needs more accessible housing

Tatlay says because the SACH Community Hub is built on “pillars,” every person “brings sort of their own lens into it.”

The goal is to reduce stigma while increasing access to resources.

“The need is so great,” Tatlay said. “We have an abundance of people who need this assistance, need this service. We are already delivering whether it’s substance use counselling, mental health therapy, income assistance. We’re delivering food security, hygiene packs.”

Essentially what the hub does is it provides access to services through a centralized location. “We were doing this in sort of nebulous points throughout the city but now to be able to pull the resources together, bring the strength of the individuals together to deliver all the services through a hub just makes it that much more organized,” Tatlay says.

SACH is raising funds for an outreach office. To learn more, visit sachbc.ca and those interested in donating to this cause, or in being a sponsor, can contact info@sachbc.ca.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

B.C. overdosesFraser HealthHealthSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

web
Mission’s 2021 grad ceremonies to be under same COVID limitations as 2020 grad

Grads and grad-parents receive letter from superintendent breaking the disappointing news

submitted
Betty-Anne Faulkner is a true legend of the Pretty Estates

Now known as the Sandpiper Resort, the area in Harrison Mills was once the Pretty Estates

Passengers aboard Komagata Maru in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet, 1914 - Library and Archives Canada image
Abbotsford council is asked to rename street in memory of Komagata Maru victims

Most of 376 the passengers aboard ship were denied entry into Canada in 1914

web
‘Wild West of Mission’: Surging traffic on rural roads threaten safety, locals report

Steelhead Community Association present concerns to council on Feb. 16

Boxes of blueberries are being sold in Abbotsford as a fundraiser for four local Rotary Clubs.
Four local Rotary Clubs hold Blueberry Blitz in Abbotsford

Boxes of blueberries available for pre-order, with funds supporing local projects

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Framed photos of Travis Selje and other items fill the top of a dresser in his bedroom. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Crown says defence case epilepsy caused fatal Surrey crash fails on balance of probabilities

‘She very clearly had some form of control over that vehicle,’ Crown argues

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

Most Read