July 19th, 2024

Stronger response to drug addiction needed

By Lethbridge Herald on January 13, 2024.


 As the debate goes on about what the best approach is to deal with drug addiction in our city with all it’s fallout issues, I thought perhaps an analogy might clear up why I believe that a “wait until they are ready approach” doesn’t work. 

Let’s say I have an X-ray done and a small shadow is discovered on one of my lungs. After a biopsy, the diagnosis is cancer. My doctor explains that is a slow growing cancer and if I have an operation ASAP, they can remove it and with some follow-up treatment and a careful watch, my future looks bright. 

I tell the doctor I am not ready yet but I will consider the operation down the road. After all, I am exercising my right to refuse treatment. My friends and family, encourage me to have the operation and send me pretty get-well cards and even some flowers. They also send me their thoughts and prayers.

 Fast forward a couple of years and I am ready! Some more tests are done and the news isn’t good. The cancer has metastasized and has now spread to my liver and brain so now I have Stage 4 cancer. 

Ironically, due to the nature of this letter, I am put on powerful drugs to ease my pain and suffering until one day I stop breathing and everyone sends their thoughts and prayers to my family. 

Let’s change this story. I decide that I am going to practice my right to refuse treatment but my wife says, “Like hell you will!” and she gets three strong men to haul me off to the hospital screaming and kicking, the operation is performed and after five years, I’m declared cancer-free. 

I am monitored and supported by various support groups and extensive therapy. By being tough, my life is saved! 

Now change this story by exchanging drug addiction for cancer. After all, the general consensus is that drug addiction is a disease and should be treated as such. 

The real problem is our laws in this land. There is a chance that those under 18 might be able to be forced into treatment as the present provincial government appears to be considering but what about those over 18? 

There is a small possibility that we might be able to use the mental capacity card, but I’m sure that might be challenged.

In my humble opinion, if you are addicted to hard drugs, you are not in a position to make a medical treatment decision, so perhaps it’s worth a try? 

Many reading my letters may think I’m some kind of redneck, hateful old man when in fact, I’m tired of seeing lives and families being destroyed by illegal drug use. Yes, I’ve also been directly affected by this ongoing crisis.

Doug Cameron


Share this story:

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Southern Albertan

The proof will come as to whether Alberta’s involuntary treatment program will be successful, or not….
Perhaps, the societal root causes of drug addiction including poverty could be addressed in a proactive manner in the first place. After all, prevention is, the best medicine.


certainly, addressing the roots of some of the most pressing of societal issues, which stem from poverty, are a massive part of the solution


seems folk have never acknowledged that old adage, you can lead a horse to water….giddy-up on out of the body of others.
here is an approach that may help; however, the use of pharm synthetics is still not the best option. real opium would reduce overdoses, reduce costs, and allow for better outcomes when addicts seek treatment.
Landmark study finds prescribing opioids dramatically reduced deaths, overdoses for drug users in B.C.https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/overdose-death-study-1.7080848

old school

Landmark study is sketchy at best. The addicts will go find what gives them the best “buzz”.Until it over buzzes them.

Say What . . .

You are correct, that Landmark study had some issues in the collection of data and variables which would impact the outcome.
I can find a study to support almost every side of an argument. The fact is that BC fatal overdoses continue to increase and when an addict use safe supply drugs and then returns to street drugs their body is not used to, they have a higher chance of overdosing.
Addicts want that buzz and it is why when they here people are overdosing on a drug, they want that drug for the extra buzz.
Health Canada and BC have both proven they are incapable of overseeing this crisis! Both have created policies that kill more addicts and every new plan is even more destructive!
Giving addicts fentanyl perpetuates the crisis!


self serving responses, say what and old school? you discredit studies without having anything concrete, just anecdotal and simple opinions.
i do agree with say what in that giving out fentanyl -or any pharm-type synthetic – perpetuates the crisis. our bodies do poorly with synthetic substances, and when it comes to so-called opioids, those synthetic products are hyper addictive, and a far worse alternative to real opium.


There are programs which have been operating in the US since 2013 that have proven that you can force an addict into treatment, and have success . . over 73% success rates!
The secret is it must be an effective treatment program, one that deals with ACE’s, PTSD, and other trauma events which impact the addiction. Many just do not work on these areas and instead try removing the person from their addict environment for a few weeks or 3 months, attempt to get them trained not to relapse, but fail to deal with the causes that haunt them. They then send them on their way, with future meetings set up, but they end up hanging with the fellow addicts and soon relapse.
The effective programs are longer term, going from detox, finding the cause of the addiction, working on ways to resolve those issues in counselling, relapse training, upgrading education and job placement which is monitored for up to 6 months to make sure the addict is dealing with any issues that may come up efficiently. These programs last for 12-24 months and are the most effective.
Alberta has been moving towards this type of model, but it takes time to get drug courts in place, staff trained for the facilities, then build the facilities as they train, while trying to prevent increases in addiction.
Alberta has a lower fatal overdose rate per capita than BC, with all of its safe consumption sites, over 30 . . . while Alberta only has 7.
Alberta has a long way to go, but I have faith some of their plans!
I can tell you that you can force an addict into ‘effective’ treatment programs and it be successful.
Many addicts who were recovering state that the SCS and other harm reduction programs make it very difficult to avoid relapsing.
Sadly, some of those who have been allowed to stay on the streets the past few years and continued in this cold spell have seen amputations from freezing, as if their life on the streets was not Hell in itself.
I know I appreciate your letters Doug! We met at Honkers the night of the information meeting several months ago . . . I we do agree in many areas!
Some have been brainwashed to the point you will never present enough tangible proof that harm reduction doesn’t work, even after BC pushing it for 20 years. They think they all have the right to do what they want to their bodies, even if it is costing the taxpayer billions of dollars per year! They have no idea the cost to society or the impact on the families.
I have seen first hand the impacts of war on communities overseas, but when addiction is allowed to take so many young lives . . . it is unacceptable!!
It is shameful watching unhoused on the streets slowly kill themselves, going from walking properly when they first end up on the streets to soon shuffling along, bent over like a 90 year old, and seeing the open wounds on their bodies from the drugs that kill body tissue. It is those drugs that give them that extra high they seek, but they have other drugs mixed such as xylazine, which causes those open wounds as it eats the flesh. They don’t care, because they want that high that allows them to disappear into a different realm, where they feel no pain or anguish. Their bodies rot from the drug, killing tissue, bone, muscle, brain cells, etc.
What type of society would allow this? It is humanity at its worse! At the same time organized crime increases along with their human trafficking, child pornagraphy, weapons sales and other illegal trades.
Canada is under attack by China and the cartels who want to weaken Canada and the US and destroy our democracies and opioids is just one way. China wants to rule the world and if you read up on the opium wars of China from over 150 years ago, you might see where China got the idea.

Last edited 6 months ago by ewingbt

Well said sir!

Dennis Bremner

Chaptertwo- If during your time procrastinating on an operation or not, you decided to spend all your money on plastic straws and then could not afford food, became a ward of the province, didn’t like the fact you could not buy any more plastic straws, so stole from everyone in the community that were paying for your food, lodging, and your addiction to plastic straws. Then had numerous groups stand in front of numerous donors pleading for more money so you could continue your plastic straw addiction. I would be more than willing to pay for the 3 Friends to drag your butt off to plastic straw rehab!

Last edited 6 months ago by Dennis Bremner