My heart goes out to Dave Connell, whose letter in the May 5 issue of the Oak Bay News describes the loss of his grandson, Derek, to fentanyl poisoning. I support Mr. Connell’s call for the passage of Bill C-216 in order to help prevent more unnecessary and tragic deaths.
My nephew, Jesse, also died because of a toxic drug supply, one of 215 people in B.C. in the single month of December 2021 (BC Coroner’s Report). Like Mr. Connell’s grandson, he was 27 years old. He was a kind and generous young man with a zest for life, and he brought joy to his family and many friends. He and his partner were planning a future together.
In my personal and professional circles, I know of a number of other people who have lost loved ones in this way. Loved ones of various ages and genders. Loved ones who were addicted and those who used recreationally. People from all walks of life.
Like many readers of this newspaper, I drink alcohol. Imagine if there was no way of knowing whether a couple of glasses from that nice bottle of cabernet-sauvignon was going to kill us. Alcohol is also a drug, but we know from past experience that prohibition is worse than useless.
Let’s bring that hard-won wisdom to bear on the issue of other drugs, through decriminalization of possession, provision of a safe supply, and other harm-reduction measures. Let’s have no more deaths like those of Derek and Jesse.