THE OPI­OID CRI­SIS RE­QUIRES AN AT­TI­TUDE AD­JUST­MENT

The Province - - ADVERTISMENT - Ian Cul­bert Ex­ec­u­tive Director, CPHA Ian Cul­bert

Canada’s opi­oid cri­sis per­sists de­spite the ef­forts by gov­ern­ments and in­di­vid­u­als. While some gov­ern­ments’ ap­proaches in­clude harm re­duc­tion, so­ci­ety’s prin­ci­pal tool re­mains crim­i­nal­iz­ing peo­ple who use these sub­stances. It has been — and re­mains — un­suc­cess­ful. We need an al­ter­na­tive public health ap­proach. It is start­ing to emerge, ev­i­denced by re­cent amend­ments to the Con­trolled Drugs and Sub­stances

Act and harm re­duc­tion be­ing rein­tro­duced in the Cana­dian Drugs and Sub­stances Strat­egy. A suc­cess­ful public health ap­proach re­quires a fun­da­men­tal change in how we view peo­ple who use drugs. Our cur­rent per­spec­tive must be re­placed with com­pas­sion.

Front-line work­ers are al­ready show­ing that com­pas­sion, and some gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials are see­ing the light. How­ever, too many are un­will­ing to ad­mit that the “war on drugs” has failed, and likely pro­duced this cri­sis. If we care about tack­ling ad­dic­tion, we need to re­flect and ad­just our own at­ti­tudes.

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