I started writing this just before Christmas. It struck me as I watched folks rushing around, choking up the aisles in the stores, buying glitzy, expensive toys and electronic devices, that all that excitement is somehow quite hollow when you consider the tragedy and chaos in the lives of so many folks these days. Fentanyl is killing not only the users, but their families too. But I didn't publish it. I reminded myself I am a bit of a Christmas grinch, after all. Try not to spoil the fun.
Seriously. In the last few days three tent supervised injection sites have gone up in Vancouver, British Columbia, as ordinary citizens try to save lives of those who have overdosed on drugs. There's talk of vending machines to dispense naloxene injections to counteract death.
In the USA, if the opioid epidemic continues unabated, one high-end forecast by STAT estimates that 650,000 more people will die from opioid overdoses in the next 10 years — more than the entire population of Baltimore.
Back to Canada. Health Canada and the provincial governments say they are “moving quickly” to help with the problem, but they've had five years notice that there was an impending disaster. Now it's here.
There’s been consistent increase in fatalities. Stats show before 2011 there were about 200 deaths in a year.
Between the time I started writing this, in December, and now, many more deaths will occur. At least 1,836 have already.
No level of government did anything about it until 2016.
Getting aboard the pain train...
This is an affluent society. Money, cars, glitz are everywhere. Technology has given millions all over the world access to easier lives our ancestors could never have dreamed of. Children have high expectations of what their share of the pie should look like. Maybe when it doesn't turn out like their unrealistic picture it’s just too painful to think about.
Little children are losing their ability to focus for long. Their sped up lives carry on the expectation that there will be ever more amusement provided for them. Online bullying and selfies become boring in a short time. Then it's on to more challenging, exciting things like trying graffiti work on a moving high speed rapid transit train.
This is happening in other countries too.
After that comes the daring “let's get a high with fentanyl!” And then it's the slippery slope, often ending in death.
Mayors of several cities are getting together, but there seems no way to lessen the daily death toll. In addition, a dreadful new drug, carfentanyl has now emerged. One grain is enough to kill a person. It’s actually used to sedate elephants….This stuff is being mixed into the other drugs, possibly even into marijuana.
Who'd 'a thought?
What can you do?
You, in your tiny circle can help. when you can get together, sit down with your vulnerable family, and explain why they should not start on the drug route. Tell them you love them, and care for them. Make a date to have a special meal together once a week. Anything...just to keep the communication, the respect, the laughter that a family needs.
Promise you will give a kind listening ear, and do it. You and they can start a movement to keep more folks away from this terrifying evil.