Way we’re dealing with opioid crisis inadequate

Canada is lagging behind European nations in its attitude and treatment for addiction.

Way we’re dealing with opioid crisis inadequate

I attended the screening of Nick Versteeg’s documentary film A Just Society on the evening of March 28 at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre to a full house.

To my knowledge, this was the first time that people who represent the collateral damage of the fentanyl crisis have had an opportunity to speak out in our area. Business and home owners had an opportunity to voice their concerns over theft and vandalism as did the NIMBY who was concerned that a women’s shelter had opened in her neighbourhood.

But more importantly, there were many families and friends of those who have died from fentanyl in attendance and on behalf of them and myself I would like to reiterate a few things I had an opportunity to say after the screening and a few that I did not.

In spite of safe injection sites, the death toll continues to rise across the country (because the majority of deaths occur at home). The clients of safe injection sites are primarily people who have reached the homeless stage of their addiction.

The demographic hardest hit is young men.

Canada is lagging behind European nations in its attitude and treatment for addiction.

No provincial or federal government representative is willing to even broach the subject to include in-house addiction treatment under our provincial health care systems, in spite of the fact that the death toll continues to rise year over year. I assume they are afraid of the backlash. I for one, am not.

For families battling fentanyl, please go to the John Volken Academy website (https://www.volken.org/). They offer a two-year in-house treatment program and the cost is only $5,000 (a far cry from the cost of private treatment centres which is unattainable for most families). Unfortuntely, I only stumbled across this site after my own son’s death from fentanyl at VisionQuest in Chilliwack.

Moms Stop The Harm (MSTH) is a useful website for families and friends of fentanyl/opiate users. They also offer grief support. Get involved.

Fentanyl abuse is primarily a North American issue. Big pharma perfected heroin — it’s cheap, easily available and deadly. It appears that they replaced oxycontin with a drug that is even more addictive and deadly. How did this happen? Did Health Canada drop the ball? Was there not enough painkillers available without fentanyl being introduced to the market in pill and patch form?

The justice system should by now have amended the criminal code to include minimum mandatory sentencing for those convicted of selling, fabricating fentanyl and importing illegal fentanyl which is the deadliest. The justice system has been asleep at the wheel.

Ordinary people can create positive change if their numbers are large enough. I am urging people to write to their provincial and federal parties to demand that in-house addiction treatment be made available through our provincial health care systems. MSTH has been advocating for change to a deaf government, so let’s get together and really push this issue across the country. I can be reached at LynnConway33@yahoo.com if you want to help form a working group. To quote Margaret Mead: “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”

In a manner of speaking, we need to Poke the Bear.

Lynn Conway

Chemainus

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