Pubdate: Fri, 10 Feb 2012
Source: Intelligencer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2012, Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Douglas Roy


Re: "New shoes won't do for beleaguered downtown" (letter, Feb 7)

As a registered nurse working closely with Belleville's downtown 
residents, it is with great disappointment that I read of our city's 
marginalized citizens being described with such uninformed and 
prejudicial terms as 'hobo' and 'stumbling in the street'.

Methadone is not "a replacement buzz for heroin". It is, however, a 
relatively safe medical treatment for opiate addiction that saves 
lives and provides a starting point for people to overcome addiction 
and to return to a more healthy and productive life in their community.

To demonize drug users and those on Methadone as the source of 
Belleville's woes perpetuates the stigma and isolation experienced by 
those suffering from challenges to their mental health (addictions 
are a health issue, not an issue of personal character).

Methadone dosages do not induce euphoria or a 'buzz'. They do control 
the overwhelming need to ingest or inject opiate drugs.

Opiate addiction is growing to epidemic proportions across Ontario 
and the majority of new addicts are middle class, middle aged people 
who originally obtained a prescription from a physician for the 
control of moderate to severe physical pain.

When talking about "Putting wingtips on hobos", I think that the shoe 
is now on the other foot.

Every spring the Hastings and Prince Edward Harm Reduction Task Force 
sponsors a symposium on Addiction and Harm Reduction and I encourage 
anyone with a sincere interest to attend.

Douglas Roy

Belleville Nurse Outreach
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