October 23rd, 2020

The opioid effect


By Lethbridge Herald on August 3, 2018.

The opioid crisis: write about it, and the reaction you get can be surprisingly cruel. Supposedly normal, ordinary people will respond with statements essentially saying those who are addicted deserve to die — and the sooner, the better.
Here’s a sample from a recent CBC story on fentanyl deaths: “Western society just gets dumber and dumber. Let the opioids do their job and weed these people out”; “Natural selection brought upon by themselves”; and, “It is sad, devastating and tragic but for a multitude of reasons individuals are making decisions to end their life and we should not continually put resources into trying to prevent that.”
It’s the viewpoint, of course, of people who haven’t had the opioid crisis touch their lives, people who think that addicts are some sort of underclass that’s not deserving of help or support.
It’s an “us and them” attitude that probably wouldn’t be as popular if the identifiable group was something else. Imagine, for example, anyone saying: “The elderly use up a lot of our expensive health-care resources. They’ve had their time. Just let ’em die already.”
That’s a view unlikely to get much traction.
And yes, there are people who die from opioid overdoses who live in a world that’s far different from the mainstream; deaths in a world of misery and addiction others can barely comprehend.
But what’s startling about the opioid crisis is the number of cases that aren’t really us and them at all. (Even if us and them was somehow a legitimate measure of how far human compassion should extend.)
Teenagers who try a drug offered to them at a party and die as a result. Suburban neighbours who are prescribed opioids after back surgery or a car accident, and become unlikely chemical prisoners. Occasional users who buy what they think is one drug, and get something else instead.
In other words, it’s something that could easily happen to you, or someone you love.
And what’s only become clear now is that there have been so many opioid deaths in this country that a coming move to include those deaths in the overall life expectancy figures for Canadians is likely to reduce our combined life expectancy nation-wide. Roughly 4,000 people died of opioid overdoses in 2017, up from more than 3,000 in 2016. When those numbers are added into overall life expectancy calculations, the expected lifetime for Canadians born in 2017 — 82 years — is expected to stop its steady increase, and actually dip.
That’s exactly what happened in the United States when opioid deaths were added into statistics there.
The message is hard to ignore: the number of opioid deaths, along with the relative age of those dying from overdoes, is so significant that it will actually change averages for the entire Canadian population.
So, if that isn’t the definition of a crisis, what is?
An editorial from the St. John’s Telegram (distributed by The Canadian Press)

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Dennis Bremner

What you say is true, it is a crisis. So rather than cater to a problem that you know will continually get worse and take more lives in the process. There are two choices, refuse rehab and go to jail, or take rehab and break the addiction. Its one or the other. Bleeding hearts want to “treat” by offering safe injection sites and even provide the drugs. The cold facts are Vancouvers ARCHES is a complete utter failure. So longterm the bleeding heart method does not work
In jail, you remove the addiction or rehab does it. Both ways prevent deaths. The Goody two shoes approach ensures deaths and prolonged addiction!

Yale Belanger

Dennis I’ve been following your responses for some time. You appear well informed. Are you able to offer me some insights regarding the cost differentials of managing the issue as we have been compared to incarceration/forced rehab? Much appreciated. Thanks also for not hiding behind a pseudonym/handle. Anonymity is cowardice.

Dennis Bremner

Good question but probably not for the reason you suspect. If anyone were to raise the “cost issue” to continue the goody two shoes (GTS) approach you would be surrounded by do gooders who would scream that you cannot put a price on saving a life!
So its really one of those issues used in politics where the alternative is voiced in such a way as to shut the opposition up, or make you feel you personally have no value, or somehow your skin is worth less than a GTS’s skin.
The easiest way to quantify the entire GTS perspective is to use their own data against them. The NDP health minister believes that the have saved over 100 lives since instituting ARCHES. What they do not say is how many no longer use because the number is insignificant and in most cases non-existant. They also do not discuss new users because that blows ANY benefit of any of the NDP solutions!
So lets quantify costs to pursue the Phillips/Fitzpatrick model:

1) No immediate plan to rehab, just an immediate plan to create a slum
2) Creation of a user safe zone that includes immunity from arrest
3) Creating an environment to attract users to Lethbridge by that immunity
4) Creating a decreasing real estate value for law abiding citizens
5) Creating an insecure environment for law abiding citizens
6) Nurturing an environment where if you are against there way, you are an un christian commie, racist with no soul!
7) Providing experts at discussion panels that discuss things globally and are not willing to discuss impacts on you! Getting real questions submitted and answered later, after the meeting, in the absence of a like minded crowd allows them to prevent you from organizing and its a proven tactic.
8)Creating mini “East side Vancouvers by recommending the same model, which does not work
9) Providing guidance to Lethbridge Council when they have no proof that this program works anywhere in Canada without omitting data showing it does not!
10) Creating a “permanent disconnect between one section of a city in relationship to the rest of the community
11) Fathering an ever increasing reach of crime as things worth stealing or burglaring move away from that center.
12) Establishing a hub for crime in various forms, muggings, beatings, drug dealing prostitution, property theft, gangs, crack houses, etc.
13) Further fostering plummeting real estate prices, residential and commercial as the influence of the “slum expands”

Now, this is “done” to the law abiding citizen to accommodate the illegal activity. Read the list again, that’s the shocking part and it demonstrates what a spineless society we have become!

So the cost to society is defined, it destroys 1/5 of a small City like Lethbridge and those costs are in the $10’s of millions in lost Revenue, in lost real estate values, in higher crime rates, in larger insurance premiums , in extra policing and the costs are perpetual, they never end.

So, lets take the real data 500 users to 700 today. Did 200 more users decide to start using drugs, or did they come to Lethbridge because they were being harrassed by their local police force and given a 1 way bus ticket?

We are already seeing the results of ARCHES crime is spreading throughout London Road area. I have predicted 1000 users by November in Lethbridge. So as Crime centralizes in the London Road /Downtown district so will police surveillance. That then pushes crime beyond those areas because that is where “the police are not present”. So you can expect an ever increasing circle to encompass, the South, East and North.

Now we are talking $100’s of millions in costs both real and perceived. The “Rub” is, none of what the dastardly trio of Phillips/Fitzpatrick/Spearman is doing, is going to stop this. There solution exacerbates the problem in perpetuity.

My solution saves REAL lives more lives then the NDP can fabricate through their statistics. Let me compare

Lets call victim 1 “Sarah”
1) Sarah OD’s Naloxone is administered and 1 life saved
2) Two days later Sarah OD’s again………two lives saved?
3) A week later Sarah OD’s again…………three lives saved!
4) Sarah eats at the soup kitchen
5) Sarah sleeps in NDP provided slum housing.

So the NDP can and will create imaginary statistics because its a feel good for the Goody Two Shoes (GTS) group and makes it look like you really are the commie un-christian if you do not follow their GTS process. Lets look at Sarah under my scenario

1) Sarah OD’s and wakes up in Jail and is charged with possession and consumption
2) The judge gives Sarah a choice 90 days (first offence) or Rehab
3) Sarah is firm, NO REHAB
4) Sarah does not OD two days later or a week later, she is in jail.
5) Sarah eats at the jail
6)Sarah sleeps at the jail provided by the NDP expenditures

Do I record one life saved because she did not need Naloxone or an emergency room? Thats why the GTS approach looks like its effective… ITS NOT, it is the most ineffective approach to drug addicts on the books but logs up 1000’s of lives saved!

Lets continue with Sarah
1) Sarah OD’s and wakes up in Jail and is charged with possession and consumption
2) The judge gives Sarah a choice 90 days (first offence) or Rehab
3) Sarah chooses REHAB
4)Sarah does not OD two days later or a week later, she is in REHAB.
5) Sarah eats at REHAB
6) Sarah Sleeps at REHAB

Do I count Sarah as a life saved if she completes rehab or now do I wait for more experts to then pooh pooh this as I have no idea if Sarah has relapsed? So the experts and by extension the NDP are pulling a Manafort and cooking the books! Cooking the books is one thing but to try to bullshit me into believing it by insinuating I am a commie un christian uncaring Lethbridge killer tends to get my a tad riled.

So costs…..REHAB costs are the same in both cases. Jail extension, court time is higher then the NDP non-solution but must be subtracted from the extra policing soon needed, increased insurance rates, and crime/burglaries property devaluation and the prescence of a GHETTO in Lethbridge, as well as quality of life in Lethbridge. However, the cost to the community is about 90% less than the deadly trio non solution. So my napkin theory is the cost is less doing it my way and results in Real Lives being saved, not the bullshit numbers the NDP fabricate monthly!

PS- substitute Conservatives for NDP in all cases if they chose to screw over small town Alberta, small town business and the residents as the NDP definitely have.

lonestar

Mr. Bremner, you forgot one thing in your excellent senario’s, all of which are drum tight thinking which we can assume because you silenced the “regulars”

You forgot the untold millions draining off the public treasury on lawyers/assistances, security people, judges/ courts, people like the ARCHES director and her helpers, nurses etc, 100 of police hours wasted weekly policing criminality they can’t touch in certain zones, numerous social agencies poking and probing the “clients”, hospitals, medical costs, wasted products of every type imaginable, and so on!

We think there’s a fair large and rapidly expanding industry that would go down the tubes if all this were cleaned up tomorrow. What do you think?.

God Bless you Dennis when you speakfor people with a heart that cures/saves those with addictions not feed it or feast off it.

Dennis Bremner

There are two approaches to this issue. You will note the people defending the chosen approach which is harm prevention, as in this article attempt to “shame people” into supporting their approach with comments like, and I quote:
a) quote ………………and the reaction you get can be surprisingly cruel
Rebuttal: This sets the tone of the article. So that the alternative to the opening line “can only be” the chosen approach and sets you up with a A or B scenario, you are either cruel or you are with the Goody Two Shoes (GTS) approach because there is NO other alternative
b) quote……………….It’s the viewpoint, of course, of people who haven’t had the opioid crisis touch their lives, people who think that addicts are some sort of underclass that’s not deserving of help or support.
Rebuttal: So we have reinforced the tone, you are cruel and believe the addicts are an underclass and do not deserve help or support. Again, the author supports their approach with these comments by pairing help and support as if there is only one way to offer it…..Their Way!
c)quote…………………for example, anyone saying: “The elderly use up a lot of our expensive health-care resources. They’ve had their time. Just let ’em die already.”
Rebuttal: Now that it has been defined that if you are against OUR WAY then you are cruel, believe they are an underclass and want to offer NO support or help, we then bring an example of a legal activity as if it is the same as an illegal activity as the comparator. Now that I have proven you are cruel, want to offer NO help, it can be seen you would likely let senior’s die too!! Right?
d)quote…………….In other words, it’s something that could easily happen to you, or someone you love.
Rebuttal: Now that you are an uncaring, senior’s killer that treats everyone other than yourself as an underclass, the coup de gras…….. this could be you or your family member. Thank God their is only ONE WAY out of this crisis and its OUR WAY!

You will note that at notime does the author deal with any statistics other than to say its an ever growing crisis with ever increasing deaths! So the crisis is getting larger and larger. Harm Reduction has been around in Canada’s largest Cities for decades. So why not deal with data that shows THEIR solution is effective? Easy answer, because its NOT and that is why the crisis grows.

So the GTS approach can easily be shown that it not only fails at rehabilitation but services an ever increasing number of users. Yet we are to be content with “harm reduction as a solution? If you are not satisfied with this failed approach, well its blatantly obvious your next step is to kill off Seniors!

So the GTS approach which Governments love because it requires next to no management on their part and gives the appearance they are trying, is a complete an utter failure. They know they are losing the battle and still insist on relying on the experts who have proven they are wrong yearly. The statistics show, drugs are getting more addictive, deadlier and more readily available.
REHAB has very limited success and cannot keep up with the ever increasing numbers, because the addiction is so strong. So we do the GTS and even though a failed process, we expect a different result every time we start one up.
I have no idea why I have to explain to people how to suck eggs, but I will!

If you have a program of more clients coming in, then going out, what you have is a ” a never ending make work project” not a solution. In fact by continuing this program you are admitting you have no intention of a solution. Your full intent is harm reduction for the user, period, end of claims! You are employing harm reduction knowing full well it creates maximum harm on the surrounding community. Then insist your way is the only way! How egotistical, arrogant and righteous you have become!

You continually reiterate how addictive these drugs are, then only provide a vehicle for continued use???? So, as the author of this article divides people into GTS’s or killers, I ask:

Are you “moron’s” or ” so addicted to your failures, its too much trouble to find a real solution”?
If the former, move aside and let a REAL solution occur that preserves the fabric of a city and keeps the community intact! If the latter, seek help from another failed “expert run” NDP government make work project !
My solution has a guard doing a bed check, of a warm body, in the middle of the night in a jail or a REHAB center! Yours has ambulances, doctors, medics and ARCHES people rushing to an alley somewhere in Lethbridge to administer Naloxone or pick up a dead person!!
The next night, my solution has a bed check, of a warm body, in the middle of the night in a jail or a REHAB center! Yours has ambulances, doctors, medics and ARCHES people rushing to an alley somewhere in Lethbridge to administer Naloxone or pick up a dead person!! !!
The NEXT night……… can you get the point!! ( I must admit, its my hope you can, its not a given, for sure!!!)

My solution has rehab and addiction intervention, with that same warm body(the dead guy in your scenario), while in jail or REHAB center. Please tell me how you intend on REHABING YOUR DEAD GUY!

Which initself is interesting , so I have to ask the GTS’s in the NDP, ARCHES, the Lethbridge Council, and the author of this article:

Why are you providing incompetent guidance, incomplete help, and promoting/allowing continued addiction, that results in people dying?
(Simple Question, take your time answering please! )

No one “should die” in my scenario, so how can I be an unfeeling, uncaring, commie, un-christian, potential seniors/ addict killer?

Suddenly, the responsibilities are shifting from us “Lethbridge lovers”, to you “Goody Two Shoes people” ! When you offer a stop gap with no thought, you are offering incompetent and incomplete help, which is leading to addicts deaths, crime , deterioration of our business community, and destruction of our downtown!! Yet, you promote this as “the ONLY answer”! The arrogance reeks!

Sometimes you really do have to tell people how to suck an egg!

Dennis Bremner

I have re-read some of my posts and realize that my observations of Drug Towns over 30 years from Norway to Rio is creating a sense of urgency that few can understand. So I intend to tone things down but still try to convey what I have seen over those years, in a less aggressive manner. Its causing me blood pressure issues, so although just as adamant, I won’t be preaching, as it were.

Steve Bottrell

Dennis, I submit that you are among the cruel people the writer refers to. I would suggest that this is because of 2 things. You don’t understand money, and the behaviors and values it drives. And you don’t understand addiction. This is normal for most people, so I understand your position and am not trying to be condescending. Just stating what I have observed of your post.
Addiction cannot be understood without the context of environment. Rehab is an attempt to change the environment. It unfortunately is constrained by the monetary environment and has a low success rate because of it.
How much do you understand of your own environment? Do you even understand why you, are you? Do you know where your behavior comes from? Your values? Do you understand what the foundation of our society is? You need to understand these things to understand the issues surrounding addiction and so many other ills of society. I personally don’t think there is a palatable solution to be found in our socioeconomic system. The solution would require a wholesale change to it. And that is hard for most people to comprehend. Mostly because they have never known anything different, and have never questioned what they do know. Knowledge that is not accurate more often than it is.