Ryan Hedican was just 26 when he died from fentanyl poisoning in 2017. File photo

Ryan Hedican was just 26 when he died from fentanyl poisoning in 2017. File photo

LETTER – Governments’ response to toxic drug crisis proves all lives are not created equally

Dear editor,

British Columbia has two public health emergencies that our elected governments are treating so differently. One health emergency has claimed the lives of over 1,500 people, many of them seniors, in the last 12 months. The other health emergency has claimed over 7,000 people, most of them in the prime of their lives, in the last five years.

Our provincial health minister and public health officer have shared daily, weekly and monthly statistics related to COVID-19. Why has the opioid crisis never been given this daily and detailed reporting from our government and public health officer? Where are the many statistics related to the opioid crisis? This crisis has continued for five years and claimed thousands more lives than COVID but it is not treated equally.

Governments have stated that they are making evidence-based decisions and have implemented recommendations from our health and science professionals to stop the spread and deaths from COVID-19. These same elected politicians have spent a fraction on the opioid crisis when compared to the funds spent on the COVID crisis. They have dismissed decades of evidence that our drug policy has been an absolute failure and is directly responsible for ensuring that organized crime is the sole provider of toxic drugs. They have repeatedly also dismissed health and law professionals who have stated we must address the toxic supply in order to stop people from dying.

Our provincial and federal governments have clearly shown they will do everything needed to prevent people from dying to COVID. They have also clearly shown, by not addressing the source of toxic drugs, that they are willing to accept the loss of innocent lives due to the opioid crisis.

Our governments have two choices: either organized crime can control substances or the government can provide safe substances with a system like we have in place for safe alcohol and marijuana.

Our governments would not allow any other demographic to die from any toxic source for five years if it were not for the stigma associated with substance use – they would address the source of the toxicity. Government needs to deal with reality and stop innocent people from dying at the hands of organized crime. This will only happen by having all drugs, for all users, being from government-controlled safe suppliers. Governments spend billions of tax dollars with no positive change in our communities decade after decade.

April 24 was the fourth anniversary of the death of our son Ryan, who died at the age of 26 from a fentanyl poisoning on his job site in Vancouver. It is even more heartbreaking to know five more families in B.C. will lose a loved one tomorrow and every day this month and year, as our government has chosen to protect the perceived loss of votes over saving innocent lives.

Governments’ lack of meaningful action on the opioid crisis devalues, disrespects and minimizes Ryan’s short life, and the thousands of others who have also lost their lives due to a toxic supply.

We are hurt, angry and ashamed at our governments’ lack of treating all lives equally. It’s beyond time for decriminalization of all substances and for those substances to be government-controlled.

John & Jennifer Hedican,

Courtenay

Letter to the Editor

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The current location of Comox Valley Search and Rescue on Moray Avenue in Courtenay. Google Maps photo
Comox Valley Search and Rescue aiming to purchase a roof for their rescuers

Their goal is to raise between $1.2 and $1.5 million, approximately the purchase price of a facility

A bear is seen walking down Alderwood Place in east Courtenay Sunday (May 9) morning. Video screenshot/Kristie Cave
Video: Bears spotted throughout Comox Valley

Hide food sources, keep garbage away: conservation

Carter Woods was first across the line at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, Saturday in Altstadt, Germany. File photo
Cumberland mountain biker wins World Cup race in Germany

Carter Woods of Cumberland won a World Cup mountain bike race Saturday… Continue reading

The flowers of Darmera peltata (Indian rhubarb) before the leaves emerge. Photo by Leslie Cox
DUCHESS OF DIRT: Plenty of ‘wow’ factor in the garden in spring

Leslie Cox Special to The Record I can’t help it. I like… Continue reading

WestJet in flight. Black Press file photo
Two COVID exposures on WestJet flight into Comox

The BC Centre for Disease Control has posted advisories for two separate… Continue reading

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The only access to 5th Street bridge heading east (toward Lewis Park) is via Anderton Avenue. Photo by Terry Farrell.
Single lane alternating traffic controls on Courtenay bridge now in effect

Single lane alternating traffic on the 5th Street Bridge is now in… Continue reading

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Most Read