Pubdate: Tue, 03 Jan 2017
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Deb Bailey
Page: A11


In December 2015, my much loved but addicted daughter died after
taking heroin laced with fentanyl. She had tried many times to quit
and was prepared to try again, but she never made it to that next
appointment. It has been a desperately difficult year. I have written
and spoken to many who could affect change. My voice, along with many
others, sought to change the way we view and treat those who are
addicted. Change happened. Narcan became more easily accessible and
the regulations around prescribing Suboxone were revised. A few more
safe injection sites were set up. Still, the death rate marched on.
Still, first-responders were taxed to the max. Then earlier this
month, 13 deaths in one dark night - 13 more families plunged into
unbearable grief.

To stop the deaths, we must provide those who are already addicted
access to "safe heroin" along with safe sites to inject. The potential
benefits are great: fewer deaths, increased access to those who are
addicted, the potential to crush the drug dealers' market, and greatly
diminishing the 911 calls to deal with overdoses. Greater access to
those who are addicted needs to be matched with immediate access to
detox, and then treatment and followup that works. When they are
ready, a response needs to be ready.

It won't be easy and it will cost money, but we are already paying. In
the last year of her life, my daughter had three surgeries, with a
fourth pending, a five-week stay in the hospital, the attention of
three varieties of specialist physicians, four trips to the emergency
for overdoses, many counselling appointments for her addiction,
treatment from addiction physicians - all of these directly related to
her drug use. Calculate the cost of all of that. Would I want my
daughter to stay on "safe heroin" for life? Of course not. Neither
would she. But perhaps she would be alive with access to treatment and
maybe, just maybe, she would have made it out of the horrible grasp of

Let's be bold. Let's save some lives. Let's act.

Deb Bailey, Vancouver
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt