Maybe we’re just not using the right approach

In major centres like Vancouver and Victoria junkies are dropping like flies due to fentanyl overdoses.

Health authorities are paying a king’s ransom to keep people alive who will then go right back to their drug of choice. Users they are who define the adage that “insanity is a propensity to do the same thing over and over in the mistaken belief that this time it will be different.” It won’t. It never is.

And while this ‘crisis’ (and indeed it is a crisis) is costing health authorities and taxpayers a king’s ransom, it is not addressing the problem worth a damn. Part of the reason is that the current zeitgeist is the unwavering adherence to the concept of harm reduction.

Now for fear of alienating some well-respected friends and erstwhile colleagues in the addictions business I am not about to say that harm-reduction is all hokum, but I will say that it is merely a part of an overall picture of addressing addictions, with the goal, in my esteem, being sobriety.

I am an addict. I devoted a lot of squalid years to feeding my addiction. It cost me a marriage and threw me into hospital and a jail cell.

But, my point here is that I am a sober addict. I have not had a drink in two decades and I feel blessed because of that. And in my quest for sobriety I give thanks to some good friends and perhaps a Higher Power. The point being I got there.

Now you might say I was just addicted to booze, not real drugs. Well, aside from the fact that booze takes more lives even than fentanyl, an addiction is still an addiction. Disdain booze addiction as you might, but state your pinon to a street rummy who is blowing out his liver.

And I am familiar with the other forms of addiction and I worked for a few years trying to help people who were addicted to any and all substances. Met some very fine people in that process and, you know, a lot of them got sober and stayed sober and became good citizens. Not all did. Some tried and failed and some came back again; but once again. It can be done. It happens all the time.

Now the fentanyl matter distresses me. Addicts are not evil people and I bear them no malice. They may do evil things to feed their habits, but that doesn’t make them nefarious. Just sad and on a path to oblivion.

Meanwhile, we haven’t, in my opinion, found the means of addressing this issue, and part of the problem is the disgraceful paucity of rehab access in BC. If the province is really serious about addressing fentanyl then it had better be prepared to pony up some cash for facilities, otherwise Victoria is just pissing into the wind.



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