Volume 10 Week 10

Monday, Nov. 20


 

Posted May 1

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survey solution

Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney

 

 

 

   

 

Commentary
Pop-up Overdose Prevention initiative sadly needed
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Kudos to Overdose Prevention Ottawa (OPO) which organized the pop-up safe needle injection site that has been in operation since Aug. 26 and has served over 80 people.

Safe needle injection sites are a hugely controversial issue of late. Why, I’m not exactly sure. They save lives, which should be the beginning and end of any argument in their favour.

The organizers of the Ottawa pop-up experiment preferred to call it an overdose prevention site which is a million times more accurate than calling it a safe needle injection site.

They opened the pop-up site out of concern for the growing number of overdose cases and overdose deaths sweeping across Canada due to opioid addiction. And they did so by foregoing the need to go through the normal channels.

The pop-up site has not been sanctioned by the City of Ottawa, nor have they received the proper approval from the federal Ministry of Health which means OPO does not have a permit to operate. They do, however, have morality and human decency on their side. As one organizer put it, “We just can’t justify letting people die because of bureaucracy.”

Ottawa Public Health has given the initiative its tacit support, saying that it shares the common goal of saving lives from a potential overdose.

It has been proven time and again that safe needle/overdose prevention sites do save lives. For the bean-counters out there, they can also prevent non-lethal overdoses from happening which lessens the strain on already over-burdened emergency departments, thus saving thousands of taxpayer dollars.

So far, Ottawa has been spared the number of overdoses and deaths that have plagued other major centres in Canada. Although the number of reported overdoses in Ottawa has been on the rise of late, deaths are still fairly uncommon.

Overdose Prevention Ottawa wants to keep it that way, and prevention efforts like the pop-up site will help in doing so.

Overdose deaths are preventable if addressed and treated like any other life-threatening illness. While drug use is a choice, addiction is a disease, as is being an alcoholic. Only the most callous among us can argue that overdose victims deserve what they get because they made the choice to abuse drugs in the first place.

Just for a minute imagine if it was your son or daughter. brother, sister, parent, husband, wife, or any other family member who was at risk of an overdose. Wouldn’t you do anything possible to help prevent their possible death? Well that’s what the people at OPO are doing, with or without the government’s approval. And I say, good on them. They are doing the work that the government has so refused to do.

If the pop-up overdose prevention site prevents even one overdose, it is a true blessing. Because that one person is someone’s mother, father, brother or sister. They are part of our human family and they deserve to live. .

(Posted 3:30 p.m., Aug. 30)

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