New ap­proach needed for opioid cri­sis

Times Colonist - - Comment -

Re: “B.C. to ramp up ef­fort to end OD cri­sis,” Nov. 10.

If what­ever you are do­ing isn’t work­ing, do some­thing dif­fer­ent. Un­for­tu­nately, what we tend to do is “try harder.” Of course, noth­ing changes.

I don’t un­der­stand why the de­ci­sion­mak­ers do not seem to grasp the “up­stream/down­stream” anal­ogy that demon­strates how we tend to cre­ate firstrate “Band-Aid ser­vices” down­stream, but do not give pri­or­ity to deal­ing with the causes in the first place. Much re­search has been re­ported re­cently in this pa­per that ad­dresses how we must change our mind­sets in order to make a dif­fer­ence.

More in­jec­tion sites (where there have been no re­ported deaths) sound good, but if they solved the prob­lem, I don’t think the num­ber of deaths would con­tinue to rise ex­po­nen­tially. Un­doubt­edly, sev­eral users of these sites are dy­ing away from the sites.

If more than 50 per cent of the deaths are hap­pen­ing in­doors, how are we tar­get­ing this group? The pre­scrip­tion of opi­ates for pain killers needs much more at­ten­tion. Re­cent re­search con­cludes that “off the shelf” painkillers are as ef­fec­tive or more than most opi­ates.

Pro­grams such as the new one at Our Place and the Wood­wynn Farm are a step in the right di­rec­tion for those with long-term his­to­ries of ad­dic­tion and men­tal-health is­sues.

We need to help these peo­ple cre­ate healthy al­ter­na­tives to the ad­dic­tion life­style, and there are many well­re­searched method­olo­gies that would ul­ti­mately cre­ate the long-term changes every­one is look­ing for.

Ron O’Brien Re­tired ad­dic­tion coun­sel­lor Sooke

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