Needed With Compassion

In the war that has ended in chaos in Afghanistan, Canada lost 159 soldiers and seven civilians over a period of 12 years.

In the war against illicit toxic drugs in British Columbia, it took just six months this year to register 1,011 deaths.

In the words of Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner for the province, the record-breaking death total is “a tragic reminder that the toxic illicit drug supply remains a significant ongoing threat to public health and safety in communities throughout our province.”

Of more immediate concern for our political leaders and wannabe leaders is getting elected or re-elected, and that involves selective bribery of voters. Promises of rich funding for community programs that the promise makers hope will fulfill their hopes of gaining or retaining power.

Chief Coroner Lapointe says her latest release of data highlights “the immensity of this public health emergency and the need for a wide-scale response.” As of this writing, I can’t recall any politician adding a plan to end or even curb the ever-growing “immense health emergency.”

How immense? Chief Coroner Lapointe: “Drug toxicity is now the leading cause of death in BC for those aged 19 to 39.” This is from a front-line observer who records the horrors of an addict’s death and the agony of family survivors.

“We must continue to urge those in positions of influence across our province and the country to move to urgently implement measures to prevent more unnecessary suffering and death.”

Local candidates seeking Member of Parliament status Sept. 20th could reasonably be asked for their thoughts. So could BC MLAs – especially those with cabinet rank.

“We are studying the problem” seems to be the best we get.

Better – if not popular – would be Chief Coroner Lapointe’s plea for “removing barriers to safe supply and ensuring timely access to evidence-based, affordable treatment and providing those experiencing problematic substance use with compassionate and viable options to reduce risks and save lives.”

Would you support “safe supply” and “timely access” to save someone’s dad or mom, son or daughter, from an addict’s ugly death? More important, would you support a political candidate who did? Or didn’t?

When we lose more lives in BC in six months from poisonous street drugs than we lost in 12 futile years of battle in Afghanistan – we need a solution – NOW – and administered with compassion.


  1. This is an issue where traditional morality maintains the upper hand and discourages commonsense reform. This problem also applies to the sex trade.

    To many, providing safe supply only facilitates bad behaviour and for this reason many politicians are fearful.

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