Pubdate: Mon, 11 Sep 2017
Source: Peterborough Examiner, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Peterborough Examiner
Author: Kristy N. Fleming
Page: A4


Every day, two Canadians die from opioids and this number is steadily

Naloxone is a medication that temporarily suspends opioid

Free naloxone kits are now available to Ontarians at risk of, or
likely to witness, opioid overdoses. This includes youth experimenting
with drugs, first-responders, addicts and those managing pain.

People living in poverty are especially affected, being more likely to
suffer from addiction and less likely to afford the life-saving kits.
This is just one small part of Ontario's Strategy to Prevent Opioid
Addiction and Overdose, alongside other such measures as delisting
high-strength opioids from the Ontario Drug Benefit and expanding the
Fentanyl Patch for Patch Program.

Some say taxpayer money would be better spent on those who "value the
lives they were gifted with." Sadly, this is one of many
misunderstandings of addiction. I wish to set the record straight.

Addiction is a legally classified disability and medically classified
disease, agreed upon by legal and medical scholars alike. Addicts face
stigma and discrimination on a daily basis because, like all mental
illnesses, addiction is an invisible disability that cannot be
identified or understood as easily as a broken leg.

Like most chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and
some cancers, the disease of addiction can only be managed, not cured,
and relapse is common, be it an addict relapsing on coke or a diabetic
relapsing on Coke.

Battles will be lost, but so long as the addict is still breathing,
the war is not yet over. In fact, many recovering addicts credit
surviving an overdose with their sobriety; rock bottom became the
solid foundation upon which their lives could be rebuilt.

Naloxone kits are often compared to EpiPens as "just in case"
life-saving measures. No one chooses to be allergic/addicted or
overdose/go into anaphylactic shock. Where the two diverge is
addiction has a psychological component, a compulsive obsession with
using that which is killing them. Contrarily, I have yet to see
someone with a wasp allergy battle their urge to sit on a wasp's nest.
This is not because they value their life any more than an addict; it
is just the nature of the respective diseases.

Getting into an analysis of which lives are more or less worthy of our
tax dollars is a dangerous game. Our efforts are much better served
advocating for the life-saving treatments we wish to see covered in
the future. After all, working with one another, rather than against
one another, is the Canadian way.

For your free naloxone kit, visit the website:
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MAP posted-by: Matt