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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

FORSETH: Yes, they suffered from drug overdoses ... from poisoned drug sources ... and from a government completely uncaring in actually dealing with the situation!


How many times is this government going to frustrate the people of BC, with their pious and pompous wailing and gnashing of teeth, regarding the thousand of British Columbians, being taken (many in the prime of their lives), BEFORE THEY ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING?

Something more than just running a few more TV and bus board ads?

In a media release today, from the Public Safety and Solicitor General’s Office, came to this startling information ... those dying from illicit drug overdoses plateaued in 2018, despite significant efforts from groups around the province to prevent deaths.

The BC Coroners Service reports there were 1,489 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths in 2018, just over the total of overdose deaths seen in 2017. It is likely the number of these deaths for 2018 will increase as investigations conclude.

Just how many you ask?

  • there was at least one illicit drug overdose death in 354 of the 365 days – however the AVERAGE is in fact 4.01 per day

  • in my hometown of Kamloops, we saw a 20% increase.  In 2017 there were 38 overdose deaths, while last year that number went up to 48 (FOUR EVERY MONTH)!
  • the three communities with the highest number of illicit drug overdose deaths in 2018 were Vancouver with 382, Surrey at 210, and Victoria co9ming in at 94.


Illicit drug overdose deaths the government calls them ... and yet each one of those so-called ‘illicit drug deaths’ were individuals who had been loved, were part of a family, and possibly had children.

They suffered death from overdoses and / or poisoned drug supplies ... from poisoned drug sources ... and from a government completely uncaring in actually dealing with the situation!

What they are importing, mainly from China, is dangerous, lethal, and brings nothing but sadness to the families these heartless pigs’ prey upon.

I pity the job of Lisa Lapointe, Chief Coroner for the BC Coroners Service, having to be the public face of this situation today, and having to state the obvious in todays media release. 

Families and communities across the province are losing friends, neighbours and loved ones to illicit overdoses at an alarming rate. The illicit drug supply is unpredictable and unmanageable, and fentanyl is now implicated in 86% of overdose deaths,”

And yet WHAT DOES THE GOVERNMENT DO ABOUT THE SITUATION?

Hand out free needles and cooking kits ... run advertising warning those at risk about the dangers of unsafe drug supplies ... create a few safe injections sites ... and hand out naloxone kits.

Sadly, it’s too late for the almost 1,500 people lying dead and buried due to illicit drug overdoses last year ... HOWEVER, it’s NOT too late to implement actual:
 “... innovative and evidence-based approaches ... if we want to effect meaningful change and stop the dying ... to be prepared to do things differently to save lives.”


As I stated in a commentary last September:

Government, however, seems content to simply pick the low hanging fruit, rather than going after the real criminals and murderers

BC’s Attorney General David Eby was quoted in the Globe and Mail saying, “While much attention has been focused on the effects of street drugs contaminated by illicit fentanyl and carfentanyl, there is another side of this crisis”.

Calling the overdose deaths, a “terrible toll”, Eby said (pharmaceutical) companies were responsible because of their “negligence and corruption” over the last 20 years.

You won’t catch me saying they aren’t responsible (at least in part) for drug overdose deaths – but Eby is wrong, totally wrong, when he attempts to lay the blame for the ‘terrible toll’ in their laps.

The pharmaceutical companies aren’t manufacturing the deadly poison laced with fentanyl, which is killing hundreds every month.  It’s the individuals with enough money to bring in the deadly stuff, often times from China, who are creating the poison, and who then get off with a slap on the wrist – generally a jail term of under 24 months.


These murderers, who are bringing in and manufacture drugs with a known fatal poison (Fentanyl), snuffed out the lives of nearly 1,500 people last year.  They need the full force of the law thrown at them!  What they are importing, mainly from China, is dangerous, lethal, and brings nothing but sadness to the families these heartless pigs’ prey upon.

That’s just one part of the equation however.  Dr. Evan Wood, executive director with the BC Centre on Substance Use, recommends a number of upstream solutions, including improved addiction training to support prevention and treatment. He also points to the need for policy changes to end prohibition, which creates the circumstances for the fentanyl market and continues to stigmatize substance use.

Wood stated, “This latest report confirms what those on the frontline already know all too well; this crisis is not slowing down

If we’re going to stop overdoses from happening, we urgently need to end the harms caused by prohibition while also implementing upstream responses that address the serious health and social consequences of untreated addiction.”

And those upstream responses, as Dr. Wood calls them, are already well known to those in government who do actually have the ability (but sadly not the desire) to implement.

Key, in my mind, regarding those upstream responses include taking the position that expanding and improving recovery services is a key element of creating a coordinated and effective continuum of addiction care.

And as the BC Centre of Substance Use already stated nearly 2 years ago … while it is critically important to provide life-saving public health services and effective acute treatment services, it is also necessary to develop and strengthen long-term recovery-oriented services to support people struggling with addiction.  This includes empowering people in recovery, and individuals and their families, to support one another in their pursuit of improved health and well-being.

I read that statement and ask myself ... the government wastes millions in advertising to tell people dangerous street drugs can, and will, kill you.  What part of that actually does what is already known to be needed?   A plan to ... develop and strengthen long-term recovery-oriented services to support people struggling with addiction

The part it plays is ... you guessed it ... ABSOLUTELY ZERO!

The actual challenges, which require the commitment of government to fully implement, start with reducing the difficulties in accessing services, making sure every street worker / social worker / and those at soup kitchens and emergency know where those suffering from the ravages of drugs can go for help (or at least have knowledge of where to access that information).

We can no longer say, “Sorry the inn is full … you’ll have to come another day.” 

Recovery beds need to be there the minute someone ready to begin the journey out of a drug fueled haze and self-loathing says I’ve hit bottom – I need help.

If we profess to be a caring society, we cannot continue to allow for long delays to access treatment facilities, for there to be a lack of professionals for mental health and emotional problems, and a lack of programs and supports in the community once individuals have completed a recovery program.

These are the challenges facing those who are in the midst of addiction … and they are nearly insurmountable for the over eight in ten individuals ready to begin their journey to recovery

Finally, we must acknowledge, and demand that government ensures the road to recovery includes necessities such as education to increase prospects for employment … safe and affordable housing … and help in looking at employment goals.

Leslie McBain, co-founder of Moms Stop the Harm stated in the BC government media release today that:

Thousands upon thousands of family members are grieving today because of the preventable deaths of their children ... it is time to step up and stop the deaths by implementing the evidence-based solutions. This requires the political will, funding and a courageous change in direction. We already have the knowledge to end the biggest health crisis this country has ever seen.”

McBain is correct ... now all we need is the will of government, a mix of people from all walks of life, to truly begin implementing the evidence presented to them by the experts.

In Kamloops, I’m Alan Forseth, and now I am very much interested in hearing what your thoughts are on this important topic.  Please take a moment to write them down in the Comments Section directly below this blog post.

Comments

  1. I think you make some valid points. There are much better ways for the government to help with the scourge of addiction. And, yes, the current access to detox and rehab facilities is poor at best. I say that without any facts, by the way, regarding the number of beds currently being funded, so I have made an assumption without any real foundation. The inclusion of some hard data would have been helpful.
    I also think that before completely condemning the government for this horrible situation, one needs to understand the numbers. How many people were struggling with addiction and how many were just using recreational drugs on a Friday night just for the fun of it? The first group, I have little doubt we could better serve.
    The second is just made up of people who should simply know better by now. And, I suppose, the advertising to which you refer is aimed at that group of potential users. Being a big believer in education versus litigation wherever possible, I take no issue with public funded advertising regarding the dangers of casual drug use. At the end of the day, however, the government is just as incapable of stopping stupid people from making dangerous choices as their grieving families were.
    So...your post is leaning much farther left today than I have come to expect from you. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for your comments Christine ... and sorry for taking so long to respond.

    I know in fact there are not enough recovery beds available, not even close, and that is the first big hurdle. Anyone ready to begin recovery, needs to have somewhere to go right then and there -- it can't be a day, week, or month down the road. They may be dead by then, or that bottom they had hit may now have dropped even further away.

    Second ... not enough counseling help is available. Third ... fourth ... fifth ... etc.

    People with addictions .. especially well-entrenched ... are going to need the time to be able to make sustainable lifestyle choices. That means instead of safe shooting galleries ... advertising to quit .,.. and kits with needles and everything required to shoot up, they need to have programs long enough for real change to take hold -- they need education upgrades -- help in job search -- and they need somewhere to call home that gets them away from their old lifestyle.

    That's just the baby steps to begin.... and begin we must because what we are doing now is not even making a dent to create change.

    I am thoroughly pissed off that the government does nothing but create study after study on all matter of things (including drug addiction) and then nothing gets done.

    I have written on this a number of times because it sickens and saddens me to see those addicted become little more than human garbage. If that were not so, then the programs KNOWN to be needed (and ready to be put in place) would be underway.

    No instead let's advertise some more ... hand out more needles ... advertise to people that don't see it and don't care about it ... blame pharmaceutical companies ... and the like.

    MOST fentanyl used to manufacture the poison MURDERING those caught up in addiction comes from China -- the government knows it, and does little about it. Those importing it live like millionaires because they are -- having the most impoverished sell the poison for them.

    Hunt them down, take away their mansions and luxuries .... charge them with no less than second -degree murder, and when the are found guilty, give them the option of being injected with their own shit (and if they live get to go free) ... or send them to prison for consecutive years on each charge (not concurring).

    I am mad -- no I am furious -- at the pitiful and pathetic effort of governments. They should be ashamed of sitting idly by and doing nothing!

    ReplyDelete

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