Posted on Dec 1, 2016
As we enter this time of holidays and festive gatherings, I am reminded just how fortunate I am to have family extended across Western Canada. This time is a time we set aside for coming together, taking part and remembering the things we value most in our lives. When I look at the news from across the region, I am startled at just how many of our young people are dying from opioid overdose. It is alarming the number of people who so swiftly fall under the spell of these incredibly powerful drugs. While fentanyl is killing our friends, our families, our neighbours, no one chooses fentanyl, no one chooses overdose. When we hear about another death from this deadly drug it is important to remember that this is not the beginning, this is not where this person started their journey.
Many first time opioid users come by them legitimately, many taking Tylenol 3 when they have their wisdom teeth removed, and for most, the story of their opioid use ends when the prescription runs out. Others come to it on the street by virtue of predatory drug dealers, looking to upsell new clients on more impressive highs. The insidious nature of opioid drugs is that no matter how you come to it, its ability to hook our bodies makes it too easy for the fine line between a drug being medicine and harmful substance to get blurred, and physical addiction creeps in.
By the time we hear about a Fentanyl overdose, the user has been scraping the bottom of the barrel for some time, strung out and abandoned by mainstream society, and welcomed into the open arms of the opioid drug trade. When being wrapped in the warm embrace of an opioid rush, the only thing that matters is the rush, when no one else seems to care who you are. Addictions strike fast and conditions can debilitate an individual faster than they can realize what is happening. It is an incredibly difficult path to walk alone, and recovery almost never occurs without a supportive environment. I am so proud that our government is taking a stand, and making progress in combatting the debilitating effects of opioid addiction. While working on harm-reduction programs, we are also aiming to tackle the root causes of substance abuse through investment in prevention and research programs. To learn more about how our government is taking action on this critical issue, follow the links found here: www.health.alberta.ca/health-information.html