Scenes From a Small Community Grappling With the Overdose Crisis
Still via Steel Town Down/Kirk Neff

Scenes From a Small Community Grappling With the Overdose Crisis

Photos from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, where an estimated five people overdose a day.

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario was the setting for our newest film about the overdose crisis, Steel Town Down. It’s a small city of under 75,000 people located in northern Ontario on the Michigan border, nearby several Great Lakes. It’s a beautiful place, while relatively isolated, that sits at an intersection of classic Canadian natural landscapes and industrial grit.

Below, you’ll find some shots we took while filming the documentary, which was meant to highlight just one of the many communities across Canada and the US right now that is grappling with a rise in overdoses.


Kylie Greco, 20, stands next to a dumpster where her body was left by a friend (at the time) when she overdosed last year.

Josh Gareau, 20, has been struggling with mental health and addiction since his early teens.

A shelf at the home of Qevyn Gibson, who says he's been using opioids for over 20 years

Harm reduction outreach worker Desiree Beck hugs Qevyn when they realize during filming that a year ago to the day she saved his life from a near-fatal overdose.

A now-derelict steam bath building is located on Albert Street in Sault Ste. Marie, near the steel plantSteve Olsen, Sault Ste. Marie paramedic supervisor, sits next to a case of naloxone he now takes on calls.A poster inside The Resource Centre in Sault Ste. Marie's Jamestown neighbourhood warns of the deadly opioid fentanyl, which is poisoning the illicit drug supply in the city and across the US and Canada.This used needle dropbox, Desiree Beck says, has greatly reduced the number of needles found on the street in the neighbourhood of Jamestown. A window decal on Sault Ste. Marie resident Connie Raynor-Elliott's SUV encourages reporting drug dealers.