The Best Place
246 pages, 6 x 9
8 color photographs
Release Date:10 Nov 2023
CA$46.95 Back Order
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Release Date:10 Nov 2023
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The Best Place

Addiction, Intervention, and Living and Dying Young in Vancouver

Rutgers University Press

In both local and international imaginations, Vancouver, Canada, is often celebrated as one of the world’s most beautiful, cosmopolitan, and livable cities. Simultaneously, the city continues to be ground zero for successive waves of public health emergency and intervention, including a recent and unprecedented drug overdose crisis driven by the proliferation of illicitly manufactured fentanyl and related analogs in the local drug supply. In The Best Place: Addiction, Intervention, and Living and Dying Young in Vancouver, Danya Fast explores these politics of place from the perspectives of young people who use drugs. Those who are the subject of this book were in many ways relegated to the social, spatial, and economic margins of the city. Yet, they were also often at the very center of city life and state projects, including the project of protecting life in the context of the current overdose crisis.

Wow! A gripping ethnography of the everyday ecstatic emergency and boredom of methamphetamine, fentanyl and failed relationships that cuts short the lives of Canadian youth—often indigenous—desperately seeking community, meaning and survival. Documents the dysfunctional meshes of care/jail/gentrification/predatory narcotics markets and human betrayals that betrays their persistent universally recognizable dreams/hopes against all odds for a better futures that never arrives. Philippe Bourgois, author of In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio and coauthor of Righteous Dopefiend
The Best Place offers an analysis of Downtown Eastside Vancouver, British Columbia, a locale where young people's illicit drug use has received international attention. Fast has worked in this area for many, many years, developing long-term relationships with young drug users and health professionals. This is a collaboration that offers a model of multi-level analyses and showcases the hope of Fast's interlocutors for the future. Fast draws on their visions of possible futures, and on their critiques of current approaches, articulated with those of healthcare professionals. This is a book many have been waiting for.'  Dara Culhane, cofounder and cocurator for the Centre for Imaginative Ethnography
DANYA FAST is an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Foreword by Lenore Manderson 
Dramatis Personae



Lee, the Best Place on Earth, 2009

Jeff, Paradise, 2009

Big-City Dreams

Lula and Jeff, Paradise, 2012

Senses of Place

Lee, World City, 2009

Where I’m Going, Lee, 2011

Jordan, Normal Places, 2012

Danya and Nancy, the Field, 2010

Lee, Not These Service Places, 2009

Jordan, Normal People, 2008


Danya, around Downtown, 2008

Janet and the Lost Boys, Never Never Land, 2008


Carly and Connor, Family, 2009


Patty and Joe, Home, 2012


Patty, Coast Salish Territories, 2009

Vital Experimentation

Shae, Lula, and Jeff, Lighthouse Shelter, 2009


Laurie and Aaron, Trafalgar Hotel, 2010

Moral Worlds

Terry, Jail, 2011

Carly and Connor, Apartment, 2013


Janet, Trafalgar Hotel, 2010

Patty and Joe, Mackenzie Hotel, 2010

Endless Business

Terry, Field Office, 2012

Lee, Mackenzie Hotel, 2012

Reentering Never Never Land

Jordan, Beachwood Hotel, 2013 74

Shae, Mackenzie Hotel, 2009


Lee, Gone, 2015


Patty, City of Glass, 2011

Community Care

Patty and Joe, Lakeshore Hotel, 2010

Losing Everything

Patty and Joe, St. Mary’s, 2012


Aaron, Northwest Apartments, 2013 

(No)Exit, Shae, 2013 

Flashbacks and Futures

Patty, Terminal City, 2013

The Dance of Death

Patty and Joe, St. Mary’s, 2013

Where We’ve Ended Up, Patty and Joe, 2013


Terry, St. Mary’s, 2014


Patty and Joe, Lakeshore Hotel, 2014


Patty, Saltwater City, 2017

The Will to Intervene 

Shane, Passages, 2017

Living on the Edge of Change

Jessica, Horizons, 2018

Filling the Hours

Shane, Downtown, 2017

Stalls and Dead Ends

Lula, Wenonah House, 2016

Everything We Need, Carly and Connor, 2013

A Churn of Intervention

Raymond, Downtown, 2017

The Colonial Present

Aaron, Field Office, 2017

Living with Death

Lula and Jeff, Field Office, 2017

The Broken Promise Land

Janet, Johnny, Rachel, and Gordo, Camp under the Tracks, 2017

Exits, Janet, 2015


Jordan, Rain City, 2016

Laura, Field Office, 2017

Shae/Trix, Apartment, 2017

Janet, Recovery House, 2018

Exits, Janet, 2018

Terry, Psychiatric Ward, 2018

The Way Home, Terry, 2011

Laurie, Downtown, 2018

Aaron, Beachwood Hotel, 2019

Lula and Jeff, Greystone Hotel, 2019

Dom, BC Children’s Hospital, 2020

Carly and Connor, Field Office, 2018

Joe, Field Office, 2018

Patty, Everywhere, 2018

Where We’ve Ended Up, Patty and Joe, 2013



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