Pubdate: Sun, 11 Dec 2016
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Times Colonist
Author: Springfield Harrison
Page: A11


Re: "New investigation team aims to curb overdose deaths," Dec. 4.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. With drug users dying in record
numbers, despite the proliferation of naloxone, the B.C. Coroners
Service proposes to undertake a living-conditions study costing
$450,000 and lasting until June 2017.

Why isn't this being pursued by B.C. Mental Health and Substance Use
Services as a mental-health issue? Why is it being undertaken at all?

The fentanyl death situation has been declared a B.C. health
emergency, and yet the best use of these funds is a study of living
conditions so that "health authorities … can target populations more
at risk"? Overdose victims span a range of living conditions; all are
at risk.

We know that the addiction grip is extremely powerful, treatment
outcomes are dubious and that illegal drugs are easily obtained.
Harm-reduction programs and naloxone are Band-Aids, not solutions, and
might even generate a false sense of hope in both society and the
addict population.

Instead of wasting $450,000 and enabling six more months of overdose
fatalities, why not admit the true nature of the problem and work out
the details of getting cheap, clean, legal drugs to the committed
users? Many of them could continue living and then move toward a
stable life, free of crime, perhaps even rejoining the workforce.

Other jurisdictions are doing this. While politicians and bureaucrats
struggle to find the backbone to effectively deal with this problem,
more lives will be lost, families devastated and societal costs will
balloon further.

Springfield Harrison

North Saanich
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt