While vacationing in Kamloops this past weekend, I read the Saturday article on the possible use of Narcan to treat heroin users.
The article stated that the region has the highest per-capita rates of drug-related hospitalization. This was a bit of an epiphany for me. Raising my sons in the Lower Mainland, we have had to discuss and educate them on drug use from a ridiculously early age.
At pre-school age we were forced to talk to them about needles and used condoms, which were both found on their playground. By kindergarten, when they were walking more in the community around the school, we discussed what a drug addict looks like and what to do to avoid becoming one.
Today, with four teenagers, we discuss what each drug, which they encounter on the way to school, and what it does to the body and how to say no (or yes responsibly).
We go through the Downtown Eastside on our way to and from events so they see the carnage of a drug lifestyle. I am also ever watchful of my sons and their friends for signs of trouble.
For years, I have felt somewhat guilty that my children had to be exposed to these things, but reading this article has made me wonder if it is also what is protecting them.
Perhaps in Kamloops and area, the relative wealth and idyllic setting, the envy of those of us in the concrete jungle, also creates a false sense of security where parents, friends and relatives don’t think about, or watch for the signs of addiction until it is too late.
In regards to the debate around Narcan, I can only offer that anything that helps gets people clean is a worthy endeavour. Drug addiction is an ugly reality for people from all walks of life and for both urban and rural citizens. If we drop the judgment, open up the conversations and our eyes, perhaps we can reduce the number of casualties.