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LETTER - Previous letter regarding decriminalization of small amounts of fentanyl misses the point

Dear editor,

Dear editor,

I see a letter to the editor in your Feb. 8 paper claiming that the B.C. government is now allowing residents to carry enough fentanyl to kill 2,500 people.

Unfortunately, the letter makes no reference to the 2,200 British Columbians who, last year, did die of drug contamination and overdose — not could die but did die as a result of contaminated drugs and from taking them in seclusion where there is no hope of getting help when things go wrong. The whole idea of a theoretical number of deaths is like saying legalizing car ownership could kill thousands — if the owners indiscriminately run down pedestrians as happened in Toronto.

Much has yet to be done to end this tragedy. Clearly, a safe supply that leads to access to treatment will do much to end this tragedy. Safe supply would save many from dying from drugs laced with fentanyl.

Clearly, treating drug addiction as a health issue rather than a criminal one greatly improves the chance of a drug user in distress seeking help and, as has been the record in other countries, greatly improves the chance of an addict seeking help in terms of short-term survival and long-term chances of kicking this deadly habit.

Throwing people in jail over possession of small amounts of hard drugs is a transparent/well-documented failure.

Instead of parroting meaningless figures about irrelevant “facts” I wish we could all agree on doing everything possible (safe supply and coaching) to bring an end to this tragedy.

Norm Reynolds,