December 3rd, 2020

New approach to opioid crisis is working

By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on October 22, 2020.

Re: Letter from four physicians (Oct. 21 Herald):

I read with interest the letter from four physicians in southern Alberta and I appreciate the discourse. However, our government listened to the voice of 19,000 Albertans regarding their concerns of how supervised consumption services were operating in our province.

These voices led us to audit the ARCHES organization, finding gross financial misconduct. I’m happy to see that these doctors find this disturbing. Following these findings, our government took actions to protect the public from significant financial malfeasance and ended our operating grant with the organization. So that there was no gap in service, the government deployed an overdose prevention site a block away from the previous site. We also hired many of the staff whom the clients are used to working with.

At the same time, we have undertaken a comprehensive approach in Lethbridge – of which the mobile overdose prevention site is one part. We have announced $11 million to build 42 new housing units in Lethbridge, expanded drug treatment courts and funding for ALERT. We also have announced a staggering 125 new long-term treatment beds and more detox spaces in southern Alberta. We are continuing to work with the municipality and key stakeholders on long-term strategies, which includes a longer-term overdose prevention site.

The AHS overdose prevention site has been successful thus far. It has significant capacity to support the community. Nobody has been turned away from the site, and over 265 referrals to treatment or other social services have been made since it opened on Aug. 17.

Most importantly, since the closure of ARCHES on Aug. 31. Lethbridge has experienced a 48-per-cent decrease in opioid-related EMS calls for service over the three months prior to its closure. This decrease is also being experienced on the Blood Tribe First Nation, according to their EMS officials.

I would add that many of the treatment spaces we have funded have been at Indigenous facilities, including Sunrise Healing Lodge, Poundmaker’s Treatment Lodge, the Bringing the Spirit Home Safe Withdrawal Management Site on the Blood Tribe First Nation, in addition to their own Recovery Community announced just a few months ago.

While I thank these four doctors for their letter of opinion, I also want to thank the hundreds of Lethbridge citizens who have written to me expressing their appreciation and support for the way our government is working to address the concerns of the community. Rest assured our government does not intend to divert from the community’s interests.

Jason Luan

Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addiction

Share this story:

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Citi Zen

Stay the course, Minister Luan. We’re on the right path, finally.

Dennis Bremner

There will be resistance by the many who support the failing system Alberta had. I have watched the process fail for years. One of the constants is an addict must hit rock bottom before deciding to rehab.
For years the groups that financially benefit the most “savin lives” had no place to send the addict if he did want to rehab. So we went through the 60-70-80-90-00s with an incomplete system.
The problem is, the bleeding hearts have corrupted the system that at best was not whole. Now that we are on the right track and I give the UCP Gov full credit. The next difficulty will to prevent the bleeding hearts from allowing the addict to reach rock bottom.
They really have no ability to allow people to suffer, yet suffering is part of reaching a rock bottom. So they enable instead of allowing the bottom to occur. The reason we have an ever increasing Drug Problem is a discussion unto itself but one aspect is if you make an addict comfortable being an addict, he sees no reason to rehab. This is why the medical community today always finds an excuse for people not to take personal responsibility. Now, if you have difficulty pushing away from your burger, you have a disease. The medical community will set up numerous spin offs catering to all over eaters, instead of the ones that have medical issues.
When I was a kid, a classmate committed suicide, there was not an entourage of medical professionals with new found “Dr” in front of their name in a field they invented?
Ever notice how many people are getting PTSD? Now you can be one city over from a problem and suddenly you have PTSD? I pulled people out of the Atlantic Ocean that had their face eaten off by Seagulls!…. but now, you can get PTSD by being in the same province as a disaster?

The shingle of “Dr” is being abused to a point where I am glad its “X Gens society, because its not mine nor do I recognize it anymore”.

Doctors insist that the old ways never worked when it came to Addicts, and guess what, the new way works worse. We spend more, and get worse results. How do you know? They never publish data showing throughput and resultant success, because it is dismal and the cost per addict to pretend he/she has a chance? Sad
Contrary what the shingle hangars say, in 40 years of watching addicts and watching failure after failure, Mr Luan, you have it right!
I will further postulate this, when you have your beds available there will be the atypical rush to fill. I will say now, within 6 months of having all your beds functional, 60 will be empty and the “Shingle Hangars” will make another excuse as to why the Addict is not rehabing.
Do you know why he won’t? Mr Mayor puts them up in Hotels, Do gooders race around in the middle of the night handing out CheeseBurgers and Coffee, people cater to them ensuring hot breakfasts, meals all day, a place to sleep at night, supervised “trips” , a new wardrobe any time he wants, and the shingle hangars say….we just gotta wait for him/her to hit rock bottom?
Geezus, you want rock bottom, check out some seniors in Lethbridge that don’t have it half as good as your catered to addict and you actually ponder out loud “why are numbers are rising”?

Last edited 1 month ago by Dennis Bremner
Seth Anthony

Thank you Mr. Luan for addressing a letter that was woefully ignorant and filled with lies by omission.

Seth Anthony

Many in the medical profession label addciton as a disease, and many vehemently oppose such a designation.

Those who label addiction as a disease, typically conclude, “They’re not addicts by choice, because they have a disease”. Such a label seems to fly in the face of logic for 2 reasons:

1) The addict must make a consicouss decision and a physical effort to do drugs. Granted, the choice not to pursue that action is very difficult, but it is still a choice none-the-less. A very difficult and painful choice does not equate to a disease.

2) If the addict has a disease with “no choice”, then it would be impossible for the addict to make the choice to seek help. Yet, thousands of addicts every day make the choice to seek treatment.

Other than the logical arguments opposing lableing addiction as a disease, there exists a strong moral argument. That argument states that if you tell an addict that they have a disease, it implies that they have no choice. Once the addict believes they have no choice, the chances of recovery will be effectively zero.

Seth Anthony

Thank you Mr. Luan for addressing a letter to which the authors were either woefully ignorant or lying by imission.

Last edited 1 month ago by Seth Anthony

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x