LETTER: The irony of vandalism to anti-stigma ad at bus shelter

Dear editor,

According to a report released April 5 by the BC Coroner’s Service, the year 2017 saw 37 deaths on the North Island due to drug overdose. Thirteen of those deaths occurred here in the Comox Valley. That’s 13 families forever changed; 13 lives that will never have the opportunity to change.

This is a heartbreaking statistic, but to be honest there are other heartbreaking statistics every day…. cancer deaths, car accidents, drownings. So what is the difference between these and the 13 overdose deaths our community experienced in 2017? The level of shame or stigma that surrounds each one.

To find evidence that stigma is alive and well in our community, one need only look as far as the bus shelter by the Thrifty’s on Cliffe Avenue. Stop Overdose BC, the group responsible for the bus shelter ad states on their website: “Knocking down the walls of silence that keep people from talking about substance use is an important step towards addressing the overdose crisis in British Columbia. Recognizing that people who use drugs are real people helps to put a human face behind the numbers of so many preventable tragedies.”

In response to this inclusive, de-stigmatizing ad campaign, someone chose to vandalize the poster, and make visible their view of individuals who use drugs.

The last plea in the poster is, “Get help.” Why would anyone choose to open up and get help if there is a possibility of being viewed as a “dumb f—-“?

To be fair, behaviour makes sense; and perhaps that person’s reaction comes from being directly affected by someone’s substance use. In which case, the ad could just as easily say “husband of a drug user, father of a drug user, co-worker of a drug user” and the plea would be the same as well – get involved, get informed, and please….get help. Silence helps no one, and only makes stigma stronger.

Lillian Ramsden,


Just Posted

Comox Valley baseball player Thomas Green commits to Cuesta College

18-year-old shortstop following in older cousin Taylor’s footsteps

Toll booth down

3L Developments has stopped charging motorists on logging road

New look and name for Comox Valley school district

The Comox Valley school district is sporting a fresh look after the… Continue reading

Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation Golf Classic ready to tee off

The Como Valley Healthcare Foundation Golf Classic charity golf tournament will be… Continue reading

Comox Valley students show off their programming skills at Lake Trail coding quest arcade

Roughly 80 students from three Comox Valley schools were at Lake Trail… Continue reading

Comox Valley RCMP honoured at Local Heroes

On May 10, the Comox Valley celebrated its 2018 Local Heroes, and… Continue reading

Traffic stop leads to drugs, gun

Male driver arrested for driving while prohibited

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Catalyst Paper to sell U.S. mills to Chinese company

Sale will allow company to focus on B.C. interests, says president Ned Dwyer

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Most Read