Pubdate: Fri, 30 Dec 2016
Source: Standard, The (St. Catharines, CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 St. Catharines Standard
Author: Larry Campbell (Larry Campbell is a Canadian senator and former
mayor of Vancouver.)
Page: A4


It is time to face reality. We must actively seek new solutions to address
the fentanyl crisis and be more proactive on an emergent basis.

The existing strategies to treat the disease called drug addiction are not
working - more than 800 people will die in B.C. this year.

We expect this number to continue to grow as more and varied compounds are
introduced both domestically and from overseas.

Think of the steps that were implemented immediately to prevent and treat
SARS and the Zika virus.

And yet we refuse to move quickly and decisively on what is described in
B.C. as a public health emergency.

Why has this not been declared a public health emergency in the rest of

Last week, the federal government introduced Bill C-37. This will undo the
draconian measures of the previous government, which were based on fear,
not science.

Within this bill are measures to allow for borders agents to open letter
mail that is suspected of containing powder and a ban on pill presses used
to manufacture fake opiate pills.

All of these measures certainly will assist in keeping fentanyl and other
opiates from coming into the country. But we need to be more proactive on
an emergent basis.

Drugs will continue to enter and be made in this country.

Even if we could stop fentanyl, there will always be other drugs
manufactured and sold on the street. We need to treat the disease of drug
addiction rather than continuing to depend on interdiction and law

All levels of government need to support prescription opiate replacement
therapy like suboxone, methadone, and stronger drugs like hydromorphone
(dilaudid) and diacetylmorphine (heroin). Replacement therapies treat
withdrawal symptoms with opiates that are pharmaceutical and not

We know that supervised injection sites work to prevent death and address
the issues relating to public disorder - we should also be offering
opiate-replacement therapy through supervised injection sites.

People suffering from addictions should be seen by a doctor. The doctor
can then make decisions on what therapy would work best. Prescriptions
would be issued that can only be filled at a supervised injection site or
other similar medical facility. The medicine would be administered at the
site, with no drugs leaving.

We as citizens must hold our politicians to account.

Do we have to wait until this public health emergency reaches Ontario and
Quebec before the federal government reacts? How many more people have to
die? How many families need to suffer?

Rise up. Demand action. The next person who dies a preventable death may
be your family member or friend.
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