LETTER – Governments should address toxic drug supply crisis in the same manner as their response to COVID-19 crisis

Dear editor,

We are witnessing and experiencing unprecedented responses by both federal and provincial governments to prevent the loss of life and the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Our governments have demonstrated that when there is political will, a meaningful response to a crisis can happen overnight. Both governments have stated that we need to follow our health professionals and make evidence-based informed decisions to save lives and stop the spread now.

We have also witnessed the appalling lack of meaningful response and political will for over five years by governments when comparing their response to the toxic drug supply crisis. This appalling lack of response to preventable deaths has allowed over 5,000 deaths in B.C. and over 15, 000 in Canada to a virus called organized crime through their toxic supply of drugs.

Our health professionals are telling these same elected governments that we must treat addiction as a health issue, not a criminal issue, to protect all users – adolescents, recreational and chronic – from dying now. These same governments have chosen not the follow what our health professionals are telling them, and they refuse to acknowledge the evidence of a failed war on drugs, which allows a toxic supply of drugs to continue.

Medical data, ethical principles and societal values have guided the massive response to the COVID-19 crisis, while the perceived loss of votes and lack of political will has guided our provincial and federal response to the toxic drug supply crisis. In the last two weeks alone our federal government has announced $1,275,000,000 for research to find a cure for COVID-19, yet research money has never been given to find a cure for the disease of addiction, a disease that effects more than cancer.

Our son Ryan died on April 24, 2017, from the toxic drug supply when he relapsed after eight months of recovery and he died on his job site during his lunch break. Three years later, our governments have not addressed the toxic drug supply and young healthy loved ones continue to die daily from preventable deaths.

Politicians need to be held accountable daily and made to defend why our loved family members continue to die daily, year after year, when a vaccine that will kill the organized crime virus is available. It’s a government-controlled system that is already in use for alcohol and marijuana, so that the toxic drug supply will stop.

All lives matter and our governments need to respond to the toxic drug supply crisis without political bias and have concrete action for research and support.

John & Jennifer Hedican,

Courtenay

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