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Man who opened Canada's first heroin store dies of overdose

Man who opened Canada's first heroin store dies of overdose

Jerry Martin, dead at 51, opened a mobile shop selling heroin and cocaine

A Canadian man who opened up a mobile shop to sell heroin, cocaine and other hard drugs has died aged 51.

Jerry Martin made the headlines after the Canadian province of British Columbia decriminalized hard drugs, allowing people who were over the age of 18 to carry up to 2.5 grams of substances like heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, methamphetamine and morphine. Here's a report ahead of when the store opened:

Martin announced that he'd be opening a mobile shop to sell hard drugs to people, saying he wanted to give them 'reliable access to safe tested drugs' in a safer environment with sterile equipment and education on what they were taking.

While the Canadian province decriminalized many hard drugs, the sale of these substances remained illegal and Martin was arrested a day after he opened his shop.

He argued that contaminated drug supplies were causing harm and that his shop would help provide safer alternatives to people living in Vancouver.

Jerry Martin, who opened up a drug store in Canada selling cocaine and heroin, has died aged 51.

The region does operate harm reduction programmes of their own where drug users can obtain alternatives to street drugs, including prescription heroin, though Martin planned to reopen his shop one day.

According to Vice, Martin's partner Krista Thomas said he died in Vancouver on Friday (30 June) several days after a suspected overdose of fentanyl.

She told them the 51-year-old survived the initial overdose but was unresponsive in hospital and his family made the decision to take him off life support.

She said: "Jerry believed that people were self-medicating their trauma and so long as they were doing that, they needed a safe supply to do it.

"He’s no more exempt than any other human being on this earth. He had his own trauma and unfortunately, he relapsed."

"He wanted to save lives."

The 51-year-old said he opened his store to lower the risk to drug users.

Thomas told Vice she didn't know if he meant to take fentanyl, but that he wasn't known to be an opioid user.

Ahead of the opening of his store he had urged people to 'look at it from the user’s angle and the family of that user', pointing towards the risks people took to get drugs.

He said: "A lot of these people take a risk every day to go get their drugs, if it isn’t clean or safe, or they put themselves in dangerous situations.

“A lot of predators out there get girls to do things for their drugs, whether they’ve got the money or not."

“I don’t think it’s very comfortable for anyone, so they can come here and not have to worry about any of that.”

Featured Image Credit: Jerry Martin

Topics: Drugs, Canada, World News, News