January 18th, 2020

Drug-addicted caught in revolving door

By Letter to the Editor on August 14, 2019.

Re: Rachael Harder column, Aug. 2.

Congratulations to Ms. Harder for stating the majority opinion re: the current model of drug addiction treatment in Alberta. Would we send a person with burns back into the fire? Would we give a diabetic bags of candy?

The only ones benefiting now are the drug dealers and employees at Supervised Consumption Sites. The drug-addicted are in a revolving door that keeps them addicted. The rest of us live in an unsafe city.

Treatment of an illness is to treat the cause and help with symptoms to bring a person as close as possible to health. So: remove the cause, i.e. illegal drugs. Assist with recovery – mental health care, housing, life skills, education, jobs, ongoing supports. Apprehend drug dealers.

Physicians, stop prescribing opioids – there are many other drug options; stop giving out long-term pain-killer prescriptions; utilize alternatives such as physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage, music and art therapy, etc.

Individuals – realize everything is a choice and has either negative or positive consequences. Before you lift your hand with that first – or second or third drink or smoke or pill – think! There are many ways to enjoy life. The only moment we are guaranteed is this moment. What do you want to do with it?

No excuses. No blaming others or the past. This choice – this moment – is always your personal decision.

Karen J. Collin


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3 Responses to “Drug-addicted caught in revolving door”

  1. grinandbearit says:

    What a weak evidence-free opinion on important topics. The SCS does not put addicts into greater risk, whether the site is there are not these people are addicted. Addicts were in the fire and if the ill-informed in Lethbridge manage to coerce the SCS to close they will still be in the fire. Neither Harder nor this author address the evidence collected on these site’s reduction in harm to these addicts, including reversal of overdoses, reduction in various serious infections, increased numbers opting for effective addiction treatment programs. Do Harder or the author have some undisclosed evidence that refutes these data? Why do they ignore it?

    The rapid rise in crime began years before the site opened. Why do these people ignore that? It is in part related to addictions which preceded the site and only evidence-based effective addictions treatments will make a dent. The author’s “Just Say No” prevention strategy has been tried many times in many place and it DOES NOT WORK.

    None of the alternative pain relief strategies mentioned can replace opioids. Furthermore, in Alberta there has already been a significant tightening up of opiate prescriptions.

    Anyone who understands the situation would not be calling for an end to the site and its harm reduction methods, but would be shouting for continued support from all quarters for the site and new support for effective treatment programs.

    • Dakota says:

      You must find life difficult and frustrating if you expect opinions to be all “evidence based”. I would suggest that you would find much “evidence based” data to support a lot of the items in Ms Collin’s letter. ie: “remove the cause, i.e. illegal drugs. Assist with recovery – mental health care, housing, life skills, education, jobs, ongoing supports… Apprehend drug dealers.” ..this all sounds most reasonable. You instead are attempting to discredit a political viewpoint of a party of which I suspect you do not vote for. That hardly bolsters your “opinions”.

  2. biff says:

    exactly, grin. perhaps a synonym for conservative is “stuck”.
    dakota – the writer’s solutions echo exactly what has not worked for decades already. how do people still not get it? it is one of the most evidence based realities there is. the war on drugs began many decades ago and has been a flop. worse, it has been a human rights disaster the world over, and is of itself a crime against humanity. it was instituted by the excited states to exert control over activists – particularly anti-vietnam war protesters – and visible minorities. https://www.cnn.com/2016/03/23/politics/john-ehrlichman-richard-nixon-drug-war-blacks-hippie/index.html
    too many keep coming at this from the perspective of a mind and body that is not inundated with the various attributes that increase the likelihood of chemical addictions. the reality is that most addicts are compensating for mind and body pain. addictions is a complex matter, and the way out is not a black and white path.
    many of those addicted, who frequent the scs, are not likely candidates to become sober, at least not any time soon. i refer to those that have deep, lifelong scars and are without developed skills to be able to look after themselves in our “traditional” way of living. the least we can do, if we are humane, is to ease their existence. it is little skin off the public trough, and particularly a speck relative to the likes of corporate welfare, graft/corruption, fixed pricing, tax laws written by and for the top 1% of the top 1%…).
    i agree that we need to remove illegal drugs: but, insofar as to make them legal. legalising drugs – which must be a right in a free society – will indeed reduce prices; the cheaper the drug prices, the less will be crime related to drug addictions. now, if we could ease the increasing burden of the cost of living for all of us, we would ever the more greatly reduce crime related to trying to exist. but given the sad state of the very many that support unmitigated greed, looks like crime is going to increase.