Weekly wrap: Fentanyl, foreign real estate and furry intruders

CBC News

The week that was began with a story that has become one of the most-read articles on our website.

If you’re not one of the hundreds of thousands of people who read it last weekend, you should consider reading Eric Rankin’s profile of Katie, a fentanyl addict living in Surrey, B.C.

It’s a shocking look at the devastating effects of one of the most powerful opioids available on the street today — a drug that has causedhundreds of overdose deaths in the past year.

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The new face of fentanyl addiction: Kati’s story3:06

A good companion piece to Katie’s story came from a B.C. doctor urging people to stop labelling addicts ‘bad people making bad choices.’

In Dr. Patricia Mark’s view, stamping out stigma involving addicts is a crucial step to stemming the tide of drug-related deaths, just as activists did during the HIV/AIDS epidemic once seen as a “dirty disease from dirty people.”

The story not only generated a lot of online traffic, it also sparked plenty of spirited discussion on the CBC Vancouver Facebook page, where people debated the doctor’s advice but also shared their own battles with drug addiction.

Foreign real estate follow-ups

Another set of stories our audience was keen on this week were related to another hot-button issue: foreign investment in Vancouver real estate.

Earlier this week a class-action lawsuit was filed against the province for B.C.’s foreign buyer property tax

Jing Li, 29, lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against B.C.'s foreign home buyer tax.

Jing Li, 29, is the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit filed against B.C.’s additional 15 per cent tax on foreign home buyers. (Peter Scobie/ CBC)

If the lawsuit is successful, the province could be forced to repay the hundreds of millions of dollars — much of it earmarked to pay for affordable housing for British Columbians.

On the same topic, the numbers on foreign real estate investment came out this week.

The B.C. government says billions of dollars in Metro Vancouver real estate deals dried up virtually overnight after Premier Christy Clark introduced a 15 per cent tax on foreign nationals last month.

Critics are questioning those numbers however. NDP housing critic David Eby has repeatedly argued that foreign investors are already finding ways to get around the tax.

Forest of for sale signs in Vanouver BC real estate

Up to 4,000 Metro Vancouver real estate deals were affected by the quick introduction of a 15 per cent tax on real estate deals, and were not allowed to be ‘grandfathered’ to avoid the tax introduced before the deal formally closed. (Christer Waara/CBC)

Sleepless in Vancouver — and Alert Bay

If you’ve ever laid awake at night wondering what’s keeping you up, you may want to check out our current affairs series on the hazards of sleeplessness.

The series explores everything from how lack of sleep is one of the biggest workplace safety hazards to why no one sleeps if the baby doesn’t.

Meanwhile, residents of northern Vancouver Island may have been lying awake this week thinking about a pair of rarely-spotted grizzly bearsswimming around near Alert Bay.

Grizzly bears in Alert Bay

The two grizzly bears were spotted near residences in the Alert Bay area. (Esther and Tamara Alfred)

Grizzlies aren’t common in the area, and a University of Victoria conservation scientist said themove to find new territory is a red flag, possibly a sign of declining salmon populations.

The pair of young bearseluded capture throughout the week, keeping residents on edge. They were finallycaught on Thursday, enticed by a combination of beaver, bacon and plums.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on our site this week, where we’ll be on an entirely different kind of chase: following Prince William and Kate as they tour the province with their children.

Each week we put together a list of some of the stories you might have missed: those which dominated the news agenda; those which passed it by; and some we just can’t resist retelling.

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