Reel NW

FIX: The Story of an Addicted City

Director Nettie WildAirs on May 9, 9p

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Dean Wilson used to be an IBM salesman. Now, as president of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), he is the most politically outspoken drug addict in Canada.

Ann Livingston, a non-user, is the charismatic co-founder of VANDU. Dean loves Ann. But he is also a captive of the drugs he uses. Together, Ann and Dean lead an unpredictable crew of street addicts in their fight to open North America’s first safe injection site.

They find a curious ally in Phillip Own, the conservative mayor of Vancouver who rejects the US-style War on Drugs. Instead he champions a controversial European approach called Harm Reduction which includes safe injection sites. Opposed by members of his own party, the Mayor stakes his political career on Harm Reduction. The drug users say they are staking their lives on it.

FIX follows these real life characters for two years as their stories interconnect in a battle for the hearts, minds and streets of a city each one calls home.


Hear from the director and individuals involved in the story and learned about the the progress since the documentary was first released.

Watch on YouTube

About the Filmmaker

Nettie Wild is one of Canada's leading documentary filmmakers. Her highly charged and critically acclaimed films have brought her audiences behind the frontlines and headlines of revolutions and social change around the world.

Nettie is best known for her award winning documentary features: FIX: The Story of an Addicted City (2002), A PLACE CALLED CHIAPAS (1998), BLOCKADE (1993) and A RUSTLING OF LEAVES: Inside the Philippine Revolution (1988).

Reel NW - Fix: The Story of an Addicted City


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This is a GREAT documentary. I am going to recommend it to all of my co-workers tomorrow. I work in housing in the city of Seattle and we practice a Housing First model and Harm Reduction with our tenants. The War on Drugs is a war on poverty and is just another way for the rich to get richer. Human beings have always used drugs and will always use drugs. Putting people in jail will NEVER help a drug addict. It is just as easy to get drugs in jail as it is on the streets so don't fool yourselves, people don't stay clean in jail. This is a public health issue and the law shouldn't be involved. Legalize everything and make it safe. The hypocrisy of having some drugs that are legal and some that are not, is just laughable to me. Prescription drugs kill more people in this country every year than EVERY OTHER DRUG COMBINED, but they are legal. Pharmaceutical companies are the biggest drug pushers and dealers in this country. The reason heroin use is once again at an all time high in this country is because Oxy has been pushed like crazy and prescribed at a ridiculous rate. People get a habit and when their doctors cut them off and they no longer can afford $80 a pill, they turn to heroin which is much easier to get and much cheaper. Why are these pharmaceutical companies and doctors not being held responsible? Alcohol will KILL you when you try to stop drinking it, but is it socially acceptable to drink everyday at Happy Hour. I have a tenant that has been using heroin for over 40 years and he is dying. He isn't dying from the heroin, he has stage 3 lung cancer caused from his 30 years of smoking. Again, another legal drug that we know kills people, cigarettes. If prohibition didn't work for alcohol, why would anyone think it would work for other drugs? We have tried the War on Drugs for many years with no success, it is time to try something new!


Thanks for showing our film. The message is as important today as it was when the film was made. "Just say NO to the war on drugs!"

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