Pubdate: Wed, 12 Oct 2016
Source: Sooke News Mirror (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Sooke News Mirror


When the province declared a public health crisis in the wake of the
climbing number of illicit drug overdoses in B.C., some people may not
have realized the scope of the problem.

The seriousness of this issue has touched Sooke as well as other areas
of Greater Victoria and Vancouver Island.

According to Island Health medical health officer Dr. Richard
Stanwick, we've reached a stage where the medical community feels
there should be a supply of the drug naloxone available in advance for
people who know they'll be using hard drugs at any given time.

In some ways it parallels the idea of keeping anti-pregnancy drugs by
the bedside or in one's purse in the case of an unplanned, unwanted or
forcibly conceived child.

The distinction is, the naloxone could mean the difference between
life or death if the drug user overdoses.

The number of suspected overdoses and poisonings is continuing to
rise. Regardless of why someone chooses to ingest drugs, very few
people intend to cause themselves great harm by doing so.

This sad situation provides a bit of a moral dilemma. Does providing a
drug that could be a lifesaver appear to condone the practise that
causes the need for it? Or if we value human life - and we believe
most people do - is it imperative that we use harm-reduction
strategies to minimize the potentially deadly effects of illicit drugs?

Not everyone supports the idea of safe-injection sites, for example,
but if their presence means users have a chance to live another day
and have one more opportunity to make the decision to quit, or at
least seek help for their addiction, then it's probably a necessary

Likewise for supplying naloxone, if that is what the medical community
believes is the best option to combat this current drug crisis.

The life situations that prompt drug use are far too complex to tackle
head on, but at least this solution could well save some lives.
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