EDITORIAL: Overdose awareness day illustrates public health crisis

With too many drug overdoses and deaths, best way still to reduce risk is abstinence

Marking an International Overdose Awareness Day, as was done in Victoria with a ceremony and vigil in Centennial Square on Aug. 31, might seem moot, as few are unaware of the devastation and sadness caused in recent years by the use of drugs.

But this day not only brought light to the worst human health crisis in B.C. since the AIDS epidemic, it memorialized those who have died seeking an escape from the pain of life through ingesting drugs.

And that may be the best way to lessen the impact and reach of deadly substances such as fentanyl and carfentanil. By making very public the human stories of those who have lost their lives, and the grieving family and friends they left behind, others who would travel the same path might make different choices.

In her new role as B.C. Minister for Mental Health and Addictions, Judy Darcy has visited front line service providers and spoken to clients. Reflecting on Overdose Awareness Day, she wrote of being struck by how this crisis has seen people die from all walks of life: all ages, professions, education and income levels. And how the stigma around drug use drives people into dangerous patterns.

“[That] fear of judgment and shame can keep people in the cycle of addiction and prevent them from seeking help to improve their lives,” she wrote. “It drives people to use drugs alone, which can come at a terrible price.The majority of people who are dying from overdose are dying alone at home.”

Those who spoke in the square Thursday had messages of hope, but also implored people to treat others with compassion, especially if it’s apparent they are struggling somehow.

It’s a huge risk to admit the extent of one’s problem and ask for help. Supporting our friends or family members, rather than chastising them or even ignoring the problem, is a better way to reduce this crisis. The chances of people healing from addiction or mental health challenges on their own are slim to none.

Just Posted

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

Temperature records broken in Esquimalt Harbour and four other B.C. cities

The last temperature record in Esquimalt Harbour was set in 1999

Gingerbread Showcase returns for another year of delicious fun in Victoria

Funds raised from the event support Habitat for Humanity Victoria’s build in Central Saanich

Pearkes book sale will have 15,000 titles

Some seek volume of books while others hunt early editions in annual Saanich sale

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

Agassiz high school students say they had the experience of a life time

Don’t sign USMCA until LGBTQ language excised, U.S. lawmakers urge Trump

The trade agreement, forged after 13 months of tense negotiations between Canada and the U.S. is scheduled for Nov. 30

US official: US intel says prince ordered Khashoggi killing

Vice-President Mike Pence told reporters that ‘the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity.’

Most Read