Brock Eurchuk and Rachel Staples, whose son Elliot Eurchuk died from an accidental overdose Friday in his Oak Bay home, call for changes to the laws governing youth health care. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Brock Eurchuk and Rachel Staples, whose son Elliot Eurchuk died from an accidental overdose Friday in his Oak Bay home, call for changes to the laws governing youth health care. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Opioid problem has no quick fix

Reader comments highlight complex crisis

The case of Oak Bay 16-year-old Elliot Eurchuk’s unintentional overdose has a lot of people debating the merits of opioid prescriptions.

READ THE STORY: B.C. parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

On the Citizen’s Facebook page most who commented agreed something needs to be done about addiction prevention and management, but opinions were mixed as to what form that should take.

From legalizing street drugs to wholesale changes in the medical delivery system to giving decision-making power back to parents to pharmaceutical reform, one thing is clear, people see the dire need for change.

SEE RELATED: B.C. mom whose two sons overdosed urges doctors to check prescription history

SEE RELATED: Nurse practitioners in B.C. can now prescribe opioid substitutes

“You want to end the problem. Legalize drugs, and spend the policing monies on counselling. Its the only way you are going to keep the drugs clean and get the addicts the help they need,” wrote Jacob Teufel on Facebook. “The war on drugs is a failure. Time to end it!!”

“I think it is also so important to access any and all medical history. This plays a huge role in safely prescribing. Some can use it as directed but for others it can turn bad real fast,” wrote Lena Williams.

Marilyn Manuel agreed.

“There are many ways to treat chronic pain other than addictive drugs. CBD oil has helped with both my hip and inflammation due to my fibromyalgia,” she wrote.

Like other commenters, Cheryl Nagel has a first-hand experience with prescribed opioids.

“I remember thinking, after one week on oxy, that I had to get it out of my house or my life would be ruined…after major spinal surgery, I didn’t need an addiction to deal with as well. I wanted it so badly that I was almost a junky within a week. I made my husband take it back to the pharmacy,” Nagel wrote.

She noted she was given 50 pills, no questions or counselling about any history of addiction or anything else.

“I would’ve died on that stuff if the little voice in my head hadn’t told me to run screaming,” she wrote. “It is poison. Opioids are killing us more quickly than crack, or meth or anything else. This poor boy. His poor family. The pain must be unimaginable.”

Kendra Dawn noted that saying opioids cause addiction leads to misunderstanding about mental health as a whole.

“We need to be treating the underlying issues instead of ignoring it for an easier target to blame,” she wrote. “There is no easy answer here. We are very complicated organisms and we cannot just remove a substance and think that the problem will magically go away. We will only cause more issues that way.”

Have your say. The debate continues over at the Citizen’s Facebook page.