LETTER: Safe supply a solution to overdose crisis

In the days that followed the overwhelming feelings of grief and shock, I grappled for answers. I wanted something tangible, I wanted something to fight for. I wanted something or someone to be angry at.

This is how I felt after receiving the heartbreaking news that a childhood friend of mine, Morgan Goodridge, had lost his battle with addiction, this disease had taken his life. He put up a good fight, but his opponent cheated. Why and how can this happen? How can a government declare a state of emergency in 2016, yet have made no progress on decriminalizing opioids, and eliminating the toxic supply?

Imagine for a moment that alcohol was prohibited and that you and your friends periodically drank it, nonetheless. Then one day, your friend dies after drinking some methanol-tainted wine. Would you be calling for a continuation of prohibition? Or would you perhaps then be in favour of a legal, regulated supply of wine?

Bonnie Henry, a respected voice of reason over the past six months, has guided us through another health crisis here in B.C. She has blamed COVID-19 for closing borders and making what Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy calls “a perfect storm.” Since borders to the south are closed, “safer” supply chains have been cut off. This has allowed room for even higher toxic supply doses to begin to fill this void. However, there is a clear solution here, and unlike the current solution for COVID-19, we do not have to wait for this “vaccine.” There is a solution to what killed my friend – the solution to the overdose crisis is a safe supply.

I work in a health care office downtown, and am often overwhelmed by the amount of people struggling with mental health and addictions that come through our doors daily. There is only so much we, as a walk-in-clinic, can do. There needs to be more organizations like Together We Can, and charities and activists working together such as Moms Stop The Harm.

I want the government to put their money where their mouths are. The stigmatization will not go away, but our voices of outraged family members, teachers, and friends, can get louder. Please help us stop the harm. Enough is enough. How many more people need to die before something is done, Premier John Horgan? Working as a page in the Legislature as a teenager at Reynolds Secondary School, I used to serve you your water, and we casually chatted about what I hoped to do when I grew up. I remember saying I hoped to grow up to be an adult that was capable of making positive change. Standing up against injustice, instead of stigmatizing.

There were 171 deaths in B.C. for the month of May. A total of 131 overdose calls responded to in a single day in June (amazingly, none of these 131 people lost their lives that day, because of our EMTs). In June there were 175 deaths, my friend Morgan was one of these people. He was the kindest soul, so giving, so loving. He was only 26 years old, and he did not need to die that day.

Jade Taylor

Saanich

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