In response to epidemic rates of HIV/AIDS infection and general social unrest in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, The Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) formed in January 1998 to address issues of poverty, social exclusion, criminalization, and ancillary illness from the ground up. VANDU is now funded by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA) as part of its harm reduction strategy. As a registered non-profit, VANDU’s primary objective is to increase capacity of people who use illicit drugs to live healthy and productive lives. This is accomplished through peer-based support, public awareness and education, outreach, and legal advocacy. VANDU’s membership has grown to over 2000 strong, making VANDU the largest organization of its kind in the world. VANDU has retained a high profile in the public eye, including the 2004 Genie Award-winning documentary Fix: Story of an Addicted City, which chronicles the events leading up to the opening of North America’s first supervised injection site.

Join us on Saturday, July 19, 2008 for a two-part celebration of VANDU’s first decade. At 12:00 noon in Oppenheimer Park (Powell and Dunlevy, Vancouver), there will be a ceremonial launch of a memorial acknowledging those who have passed away in the Downtown Eastside, as well as an unveiling of a timeline highlighting VANDU’s achievements since 1998.

The ceremony will be followed by guest speakers, including Bud Osborne, founding member of VANDU; Ann Livingston, Co-Executive Program Director of VANDU; Libby Davies, New Democratic Member of Parliament for Vancouver East, and an awards ceremony acknowledging longstanding members of the VANDU community. Food and refreshments will be served, barbecue-style — as well as outdoor activities.

The outdoor event will be followed in the evening by:

A Benefit for VANDU’s 10-year Anniversary
Featuring performances by:
The Neins Circa, Adrienne Pierce, Ari Shine, Veda Hille, Paint, and Jesse Matheson and His Midnight Snacks.
@ The Railway Club (579 Dunsmuir Street), $10 admission at the door, 8:30 p.m. doors, 19+ with ID

THE NEINS CIRCA signed on with Vancouver-based Copperspine Records in 2007, after touring with The New Pronographers’ Carl Newman and Calexico. Their second album, Sleeves and Wigs reached #8 on the CBC Radio 3-30 countdown (

ADRIENNE PIERCE has toured internationally with Jane Sibbery, Damien Rice, and Ray LaMontague. Her most recent release, Faultline, was produced by Jeff Trott (Sheryl Crow) and she appears on Broken Tunes II: A Tribe to Neil Young, which also features 54-40, The Barenaked Ladies, Tom Cochrane, and Raine Maida (

ARI SHINE co-wrote the Grand Prize Winner (Song Of The Year) at this year’s prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and has written and performed with Jennifer Finch (L7), Kari Krome (Runaways), Martyn Lenoble (Porno for Pyros), Todd Youth (Danzig), Victor Indrizzo (Beck) (

VEDA HILLE has been writing, recording, and touring Canada, the UK, and Europe since 1990, and has released an album roughly every 18 months since her 1994 debut album. Veda is the in-house composer for Theatre Replacement and has also been performing with the CBC Radio Orchestra (

PAINT’s debut release “Urban Folk Tales” reached the Top 10 on Canadian campus radio and was featured on UK label E3 Records’ Showcase International compilation after the band was voted fan favourite, beating out the competition by thousands of votes (

JESSE MATHESON AND HIS MIDNIGHT SNACKS released Pleasure Pounds on Copperspine Records in 2007 (

For more information:
or contact Robb Chauhan, Executive Program Director, at <robb@vandu.htm> or 604-825-2869

VANDU Ten-Year Anniversary