Toronto Star

We must also remember those who didn’t survive


Re Survivors’ stories, Feb. 9

Thank you for chroniclin­g the stories of persons who credit supervised consumptio­n sites with saving their lives. These are stories of those who survived. Many stories remain untold, however. Husbands, wives, sons, daughters and others who died by an overdose in a dark, lonely alley or in the bathroom of a doughnut shop.

These stories of men and women from across our country are central for the public to understand the opioid epidemic that is killing thousands of Canadians and leaving their families and friends in anguish. I hope it inspires each of us to stand up and demand political action.

Across our country, over a three-year span, more than 12,000 people have died from opioidrela­ted overdose. A consuming and inextingui­shable grief inhabits and haunts the untold thousands more who have lost loved ones as a result. Nurses know this and we have called repeatedly on all government­s to act with the urgency demanded by so much death.

It’s a public health emergency larger than SARS, COVID-19, and there are no masks to protect the afflicted, their loved ones or us as a society. And yet, some politician­s are blinded by ideology and ignoring the facts.

The evidence is overwhelmi­ng that supervised consumptio­n sites save lives and open a window of hope. The need is dire and the opioid crisis should be unmasked.

Doris Grinspun, RN and CEO of the Registered Nurses’ Associatio­n of Ontario

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