You always hope that the door gets opened before the crisis starts. Sometimes crisis does not reflect the point of arrival after a decade of neglect but rather the race. The old Aesop tale of the turtle and the hair comes to mind. The issue builds faster than the solutions, faster than awareness but eventually we hope that loneliness and hopelessness never compound in a community, a nation or a globe and the many service branches, including governance, policing, civic, you and I the people, health Units and end users achieve a kind of synergy when working with the vulnerable, the criminal, and the prescribed. Addiction may be beaten or managed,, we say, we pray, we work on this a premise.
While in the Philippines , I experienced, first hand, a type of governance that involved direct eradication of drug users through extreme force. People were shot in the streets by police if caught using or distributing, martial law like. Police adopted a tone more militant as if there were at war rather then service providers for the protection of the community. in city streets. Could it be that there really is a war on drugs hence the re-identification initiative.
When the governing bodies and trusted institutions, themselves, are infested with dealers, and the ruling class empowers access and profit as an industry standard,, the high based, well then Dutarte would certainly need to review measures. Do I condone the killings , no. Like the internationally community, at the time, there was an outcry against this sort of policing and the local people as well were appalled when I spoke with them but it only goes to show us that yes there is a war and yes drugs have reached new highs,,not the typical or expected types.
The most prevalent memory, for me, involves a little street child of 4 or 5 using an old needle casing , She held it to her vein with a confidence and no how that made me want to well..puke and or cry . Her story is one of many. We, some older street children and I, could not get her to relinquish the casing no matter what we said or did. I sincerely hope her future will not be this. Since this time, street programs and services may be in place in the Philippines, hopefully. – a ramp up could save many. I have told this story in book form, film (pending) in the blog and as a verbal narrative in the hopes that something more may be done.
Back here in Canada, Justin Trudeau struggles with the epidemic but does appear to face it down. Certainly a lot still needs to be done. His work to connect, on a provincial level,, which in turn connects locally provides an infrastructure of informed, communicated, built, consistent supports depending on demographic in any given region and as a part of a caring, intelligent Canadian identity. They seem to comprehend the complexity of the rise in use, appreciate the deadliness of this new blend + pure forms and collaborate on curtailing organized distribution from outside the country and from within. Being global now means easy access to foreign markets. In fact Fentanyl may be moved in small doses and brings in good money according to my listenings to CBC. . Labs in China ship easily through small pkg posting and are difficult to screen and catch. I recently had my book sent to me from a printing house and there were no cautionary tales or screening processes for any of the small boxes and pkgs at the pick up depot when I enquired, Yikes.
Prescription meds has also contributed to the emergence of addiction ,, 7-8 % of the 30,000 prescribed, in our small community alone, have fallen here. That is a large number of people. I can only imagine the national numbers. The Good news, as this must never be neglected- Studies, working committees and real solutions have been implemented already and no one seems to be backing away from the challenge. Coordinating the effort and the information is the key. Community plays a big part in the larger schema,, and we must say it does start with us but does not end here. We do look for the net from the other layers of services in order to reduce harm overall.
For part 2 in this series I will talk a little more about ground level initiatives based on conversations with endusers, a drop in on Council chambers during a presentation by a working committee of the Medical Health Unit and words from a street level outreach worker.
I heard that in countries like Switzerland and Portugal decriminalization fights the war against drugs better than any other method. Of this I am skeptical but certainly we, in Canada, will discover the effects once Marijuana goes on the market legally. I enjoy the baby steps+trials and test approach, of our Nation, when it comes to such a complicated and deadly issue as drug use and addiction. Certainly, in London, at a local level it is the opioids that are responsible for the current crisis. We, the community services, do not declare themselves as suppliers but rather engage with treatment through some of our best solutions such as Supervised Consumption sites.
More to tell you in the next blog space. Thanks for joining me here as we adapt, learn, and or confront the current issues of our times.