About Guy Felicella

Guy Felicella grew up in a middle-class home in British Columbia but due to trauma, undiagnosed ADHD and difficulty at home and school, he fell into addiction at a young age. Guy spent 30 years in the repeated cycle of gangs, addiction, treatment, and jail.
He spent nearly twenty years residing in a two-block radius in Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside. Miraculously, with sheer determination and the help of others through harm reduction and recovery, Guy managed to survive the HIV/AIDS crisis in the DTES, two decades of being homeless, multiple life-threatening bone infections, and six drug overdoses.
Today, Guy has escaped the grips of the turmoil that kept him suffering and currently resides with his wife and three young children with nearly a decade of recovery and sobriety under his belt.
Guy is passionate about advocating for the vulnerable people who still suffer with addiction/mental health and is adamant about educating communities on the importance of a full spectrum of care from harm reduction to recovery and to eliminate the stigma that exists around drug addiction.
Guy is a sought-after International Public Speaker who shares his personal experience and expertise at conferences, seminars ad summits and TEDx Talks. Guy attends various school districts and post secondary institutions to educate students on drug addiction. Guy spent nearly his entire life suffering with addiction and is now using his experience to change the hearts and minds of people. . He cares deeply about giving back to the communities that helped him through his darkest times, and is focused on spreading his message of hope to those struggling, to young people, to families, and to the world.


In-School Addiction Education

Educating our youth on harm reduction, drug policies, prohibition and the stigma that surrounds mental health and addiction is an imperative service that arms our next generation with the tools they need to make informed decisions and understand the realities of the current overdose crisis.

Conferences & Community Events

Sharing my personal experience with addiction, harm reduction, stigma, homelessness and recovery is a benefit to your conference, symposium or community event. Hear accounts from someone who has walked through it and what your community can do to change it.


TEDx Bear Creek Park

Is safe supply a viable option to the overdose crisis?

Global News

How a B.C. man escaped the Downtown Eastside alive.


CTV Morning Live

How to talk to kids about drugs; the importance of addiction…


I died six times... let's stop the stigma of harm reduction |…

CBS Boston

The Boston City Council will hold a public meeting next week…

The Today Show on NBC

Safe injection sites are a radical new approach to battling addiction.…

CBS Denver

‘The Heroin Fix’: Supervised Injection Facilities Are Lifesavers…

Guy has been featured on these media outlets


Drug Policy

Opinion: Drug policy inertia has been driving stigma and overdoses…


I cannot stand to see another deadly month go by in British …


BC Moved to Enable an Opioid ‘Safe Supply’ on the Streets.…

BC Medical Journal

Stopping The Spread: Managing Substance Use Disorders Amid S…

Policy Options

Will the new government do more to stop the opioid crisis?

Toronto Star

The year fentanyl hit the street, I died six times. The solution…

Georgia Straight

How Insite and Onsite saved a Vancouver drug addict.

Richmond Sentinel

Learning About The Power Of Compassion, Empathy


“We consistently receive enthusiastic and positive feedback from program participants regarding the practice changing impacts of Guy’s presentations. His contributions in the media and at other public events, as well as in briefings at the municipal and provincial level with elected officials and staff have helped to bring a human face to the issue of problematic substance use. Most recently, he closed out the BCCSU’s first annual provincial conference on substance use and addiction with a standing ovation. He simply is an amazing story teller.”

“Guy is an abundantly inspiring colleague and compelling speaker, who has a gift for drawing upon his personal experiences to educate, motivate, and challenge assumptions about substance use, addiction, recovery and harm reduction. He has an ability to mobilize his audiences to action by weaving his own journey into powerful calls for necessary changes within systems, policies and practice”

“Guy’s wisdom and leadership is an asset to every discussion on harm reduction and substance use, whether he is addressing a room full of law enforcement professionals, healthcare providers, or families impacted by addiction and substance use, or a small, focused meeting with policy makers, regulators, peers with lived experience of substance use. Guy’s presentations bring the perfect balance of a sense of enlightenment, hope, and calls for action that never
fail to resonate with his audiences”

Guy Felicella has presented to the Delta School District community on the topics of harm reduction and substance addiction prevention.  His leadership and advocacy in the field as well as his genuine compassion enable him to connect with his whole audience – students, staff and families alike.  He has a gift in challenging beliefs surrounding the stigma attached to substance use and addiction through his insights, personal experience and deep knowledge. Guy is a beacon of hope for a better future for all and is a truly impactful leader for harm and stigma reduction.

My dad is a Vancouver Police Officer (VPD) & had many run-ins with you in the DTES. When he heard you were coming to our school he wanted me to let you know how proud he is of you for getting out & that there isn’t a better person to educate his daughter. Thank you for your talk, it was very inspiring.

Your story is incredibly inspiring, and you are a motivation to many people in the world. I relate to you in ways that I want to help out others who can’t for themselves, I want to use my voice for those who can’t. I just want to reach out and say thank you for an amazing speech last night at Johnny’s Heart of Gold, it really touched me and my family.

I found Guy’s talk incredibly inspiring and I’ve witnessed a lot of speakers over the years but none better than his. Guy doesn’t glamorize drug use, he humanizes people and we will definitely bring him back next year.

Past Events

TEDx Bear Creek Park

A shift in thinking - Is safe supply a viable option to the overdose…

Surrey Christian School

Speaking to the students and parents of Surrey Christian Secondary…


A shift in thinking.

Delta School District

Addiction Education to students.

Burnaby School District

Speaking to students about the realities of addiction and how…

Musqueam Cultural Centre

Speaking to youth about the impacts of addiction, the education…

Simon Fraser University

Speaking to a criminology class on gangs, addiction and harm…


Speaking to students in the social work program about addiction,…

Burnaby Youth Summit

Speaking an inspiring message to youth age 14-19 on harm reduction…

Health Canada Opioid Symposium

Speaking on removing the stigma of harm reduction to federal,…

TEDx White Rock

Let’s remove the stigma of harm-reduction and save lives.


Send an email to Guy.