LETTERS: End the stigma of addiction

The question is not when our government will decriminalize personal possession and provide a safe clean drug source, like we do for alcohol and soon to be marijuana, but how many more families will be devastated with the loss of a loved one before a government is brave enough to value lives over votes.

In Portugal, possession is not a criminal offence if you have a 10-day personal supply in your possession. If it is more than that then it’s treated as trafficking. By decriminalizing personal possession, we can then start to rid the negative stigma that is associated with addiction.

People are being poisoned and dying due to a clean source not being available.

Research has shown that people can lead normal lives and positively contribute to society if clean drugs are available.

Clean marijuana will be legal and offered for sale soon, just like alcohol. Our oldest son, Ryan, first experimented with alcohol and then marijuana. These gateway drugs led to him to using stronger drugs, ending with heroin and his tragic death from a fentanyl poisoning April 24, 2017.

How can our system legalize certain drugs and then when people become addicted to stronger ones, they are then treated as criminals for simple possession? How come we provide safe injection sites yet it is illegal to have those substances in your possession?

With this current poisoning crisis, we know what will make a difference:

• Provide a safe clean source for opiates and other drugs,

• Decriminalize personal possession, like Portugal did,

• End the stigma of addiction by treating it as the disease it is, not as a choice.

These things can stop the horrific and inexcusable number of deaths in our families.

Contact your MP and MLA to tell our governments to do these things, and save lives, now.

John and Jennifer Hedican, Courtenay

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