Drug ad­dicts need help, not judg­ing

Calgary Herald - - OPINION -

Re: Plans inch ahead for city’s first safe drug-use site, June 15

I just saw a news ar­ti­cle re­gard­ing the safe in­jec­tion site open­ing at the Shel­don Chu­mir Health Cen­tre and had to write this.

My daugh­ter has an ad­dic­tion to fen­tanyl and has been in re­cov­ery for six months. We were a nor­mal family, strict with our kids, told them not to do drugs. This wasn’t go­ing to hap­pen to us. Un­til it did.

No mat­ter what we tried, help was hard to come by. Her first wait for re­hab was al­most six months and it took al­most 1.5 years of ad­dic­tion be­fore my daugh­ter was ready to par­tic­i­pate in her treat­ment and she was ad­mit­ted to a fa­cil­ity that helped save her life. This was af­ter nu­mer­ous hospi­tal trips, over­doses and frus­tra­tion try­ing to find re­sources as well as 24-hour care to make sure she didn’t ac­cess the drug her body craved.

I re­al­ize a lot of peo­ple think that those ad­dicted to drugs don’t de­serve our tax dol­lars or these fa­cil­i­ties, but what we need is ed­u­ca­tion and more of it. These safe in­jec­tion fa­cil­i­ties of­fer much more than a safe place to use; they pro­vide pro­fes­sion­als and op­tions for treat­ment to those who have reached their end and have noth­ing left, not even hope.

I heard a man say that it would at­tract “drug­gies” to the area. I hate to tell you but they are al­ready there and they are the peo­ple in the restau­rants, of­fices and ev­ery­where around you — nor­mal peo­ple.

The ma­jor­ity of over­doses in Cal­gary haven’t even been in the down­town. They are in the sub­urbs and homes of mid­dle-class fam­i­lies and in Star­bucks bath­rooms. They are stu­dents and stock­bro­kers and grand­mas. It is hap­pen­ing to ev­ery­day “nor­mal” peo­ple.

This is an epi­demic and be­cause of stigma and shame, it will con­tinue to kill. You don’t have to agree with it but please get all the in­for­ma­tion be­fore judg­ing.

It could be your child, as it is mine. Shawna Tay­lor, Cal­gary

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