By Letter to the Editor on May 12, 2021.
In response to Kym Porter’s May 1 letter, “Overdose deaths a cause for great concern.”
Although I haven’t been personally affected by the addiction/overdose crisis, I still understand the callous politics involved with this most serious social issue: Just government talk about funding to make proper treatment available to low – and no-income – hard-drug addicts, however much it would alleviate their great suffering, generates firm opposition by the general socially and fiscally conservative electorate.
The reaction is largely due to the preconceived notion that drug users are but weak-willed and/or have somehow committed a moral crime.
Ignored is that intense addiction usually doesn’t originate from boredom, where a person repeatedly consumed recreationally but became heavily hooked on an unregulated often-deadly chemical that eventually destroyed their life and even that of a loved-one. The greater the drug-induced euphoria or escape one attains from its use, the more one wants to repeat the experience; and the more intolerable one finds their sober reality, the more pleasurable that escape should be perceived. By extension, the greater one’s mental pain or trauma while sober, the greater the need for escape from reality, thus the more addictive the euphoric escape-form will likely be. Regardless, we now know pharmaceutical corporations intentionally pushed their very addictive and profitable opiate pain killers – I call it the real moral crime – for which they got off relatively lightly, considering the resulting immense suffering and overdose death numbers.
Meanwhile, I find a large number of people, however precious their lives, can be considered disposable to a nation. Then those people may begin perceiving themselves as worthless and consume their substances more haphazardly. It’s atrociously unjust and desperately needs to stop! Although the cruel devaluation of them as human beings is basically based on their self-medicating, it still reminds me of the devaluation, albeit perhaps subconsciously, of the daily civilian lives lost (a.k.a. “casualties”) in protractedly devastating civil war zones and sieges. At some point, they can end up receiving just a few column inches in the well-to-do First World’s daily news.
Frank Sterle Jr.
White Rock, B.C.