In May, the story made headlines. Jerry Martin was fed up with the problems of addiction in his native Vancouver. He decided to officially sell hard drugs. He accepted the expected arrest (read more here). Now he's succumbed to hard drugs himself.
This is reported by "Vice", citing his partner Krista Thomas. The only 51-year-old Martin had therefore taken an overdose of fentanyl earlier in the week and was subsequently hospitalized. Although he survived the overdose himself, he did not regain consciousness even after several days. That's why his family decided to end life-prolonging measures, Thomas said.
The circumstances of the overdose are apparently not entirely clear. Martin was not a regular user of opiates, Thomas told the magazine. She just couldn't tell if he used fentanyl knowingly or if it was foisted on him when he wanted to take another drug.
The latter would be a particularly tragic turn of events given Martin's activism. He deliberately staged his action with the "drug supermarket" to draw attention to the problem of contaminated and diluted intoxicants. Martin had previously had all the hard drugs sold from a camping trailer, such as meth, cocaine and heroin, tested for purity in the laboratory. Even the police, who arrested him for this reason, stressed afterwards that efforts to provide addicts with clean substances were respected. Nevertheless, the officials would have to implement the applicable law.
With his action, Martin wanted to draw attention to the rampant problem of contaminated drugs. And also wanted to change the law. His reasoning: Because trading in intoxicants is illegal, it attracts unscrupulous profiteers. And they would not shy away from endangering the health of their "customers" with extenders.
That's why he wanted a more liberal drug policy, explains Thomas. "Jerry believed that people use drugs to treat their trauma. And while they do that, they need access to clean substances." Martin himself had also emphasized this. "I know I'm selling them addictive drugs," he said when he opened his store. "But at least I give them drugs that aren't cut with fentanyl or anything like that."
In Canada, as in many parts of the world, the problem of contaminated drugs continues to grow. In particular, the use of the opiate fentanyl to cut heroin has already caused numerous fatalities. Martin himself had also seen his activism prompted by a drug-related death. His brother died of an overdose last year, he said in May. Now his family has to mourn a lost son again.