“My Life and Death on Opioids” (September) might be the most sorrowful title ever written. Chris Willie’s memoir takes a reader’s understanding of the opioid crisis far beyond the usual. No doubt all addictions are unique, but this piece maps the terrain in a way I’ve never encountered before. Willie does pull us out of a cave and into the light. I hope that is where he is now. Layne Coleman
The online series on Canada’s opioid crisis (thewalrus.ca/ opioids) paints a grim picture. Public-health officials and addictions specialists are doing their best to prevent more deaths. As an addiction medicine specialist, I’ve heard from many of my patients that when overdose victims are taken to hospital, they are resuscitated and discharged without a follow-up. Things will improve only when society restores the dignity of those suffering from addiction and treats them respectfully. Ashok Krishnamurthy
Vesna Plazacic’s article about teen opioid users (“How Do We Protect Our Kids from the Opioid Crisis?” thewalrus.ca/ opioids) highlighted an important component of the opioid epidemic. Techniques for harm reduction and prevention should be championed wherever possible, even if this means limiting some of the freedoms awarded to children and allowing their guardians greater control.
Jason Mcbride’s article about Esther, the Instagram-celebrity pig, and her life on an animal sanctuary was honest and personal (“Very Important Pig,” September). Many articles about Esther are somewhat hollow or tainted by the “wow” factor of her star status, showing only the fun side of pig celebrity. This one covered all the bases.
Having spent years working with racehorses, I understand how attached people can become to an animal. But, while pigs are very smart animals and are easily trained, that doesn’t mean they make the best pets. Do her caretakers really believe this is the natural life of a pig? Andrea Stewart
Cut Knife, SK
Providing sanctuary to animals is meant in part to dial down the shame of our omnivorous diets. But, while Esther is not treated as food, she is still being used as a commodity. Social media platforms provide endless opportunities for the digital reproduction of Esther, satisfying the exhibitionism of her owners and their followers, who click their way into what are, in the end, only superficially good acts. Gary Genosko
looking back and forward
Sandra Martin’s article about getting older (“The New Old Age,” September) made me think about how one key to aging well is community. Interactions with family, neighbours, and friends feed our complex selves; we want to be seen as valued and loved. This is why seniors’ homes should incorporate more cultural traditions and familiar, tasty food.
Margaret S. Murray
My great-grandmother lived to be ninety-three; my grandparents lived well into their eighties; my mother is still alive at eighty-one. I have always planned for a long life. But my wife, my lover, my best friend, and my confidante of thirty-one years died a bit over a year ago, at the age of fifty-five—from lung cancer, even though she never smoked. If I had to do it all over again, I would devote more resources to the present and fewer to the future. My rule of thumb at this point is to make memories.
In the September 2017 issue, the article “Breaking Through,” about the artist Geoffrey Farmer, stated that Gordon Filewych was the architect leading the refurbishment of the Canada Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. In fact, Filewych was the project director for the refurbishment as well as the installation designer for Farmer’s art project. The Walrus regrets the error.
“The time has come,” The Walrus said, “to talk of many things.” Send us a letter, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or tweet, or post on our Facebook page. Comments may be published in any medium and edited for length, clarity, and accuracy.
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