July 21st, 2019

Meeting people where they are is what’s needed

By Letter to the Editor on July 10, 2019.

A recent article quoting statistics on fentanyl-related deaths is very concerning.

It suggests “health officials” believe that “what we’re missing is ways for people to recover” and implies that this perspective is an expert one. It is not. The “recovery” emphasis – that abstinence is the only goal – played a significant role in our families’ trauma. Any positive change toward health is valid.

We need to meet people where they are at. We ask that media be more discerning when presenting opinions as expert ones. Families must not be led to believe that abstinence-based “recovery” programs are an ultimate goal. Studies show these programs can significantly increase the risk of overdose. Scarce resources should be directed to interventions that save lives. Only since governments have boldly applied public health principles and evidence – establishing harm reduction services like naloxone and supervised consumption – has there been any reason for even cautious optimism.

Dana Dmytro and Kym Porter

Medicine Hat

(The writers are advocates for Hat Overdose Prevention and Education and Moms Stop the Harm)

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