Letter: A view of the drug crisis from within

Despite being currently incarcerated, I have the tools and coping skills that I never had before

It is without question we are failing as a society by way of creating and implementing an effective solution that would provide a reprieve to this deadly addiction crisis in our province.

We waste billions of dollars putting Band-Aid resources to a hemorrhaging epidemic of social public health. Then we further pump billions more down the drain by warehousing people, isolating them and offering little to nothing in the form of corrective, solution-based opportunity to deal with the core of the underlying issues.

We need to vacate any remaining delusions that our criminal justice system is an effective measure in addressing this issue because if it was we wouldn’t be building new prisons and burying our citizens by the hundreds. It is quite literally a living example of insanity and is no more effective at curbing the crisis than it would be to simply put a sick person in the hospital.

Without any form of quality, safe solution based care, both the patient and the prisoner are doomed.

It’s time to wake up and get informed. Yes, we are a critical point. It’s an epidemic, a dark blemish on our society but what is the solution? The criminal actions, behaviours, the public disgrace, animalistic behaviour creating a disaster at the core of our home today are simply the byproduct and symptoms of the addiction itself. Which is a direct result of a far deeper issue? At the core of these human beings are broken, battered, abused and neglected and traumatized people. This is not a lack of will or moral integrity, this as is a full breakdown of the human condition.

There is a massive gap that is grossly disproportionate to what’s needed and what is available. We have created a perfect society for failure in continuously ignoring the factual reality of this health crisis.

Until we refocus our attention and begin supporting the human being in this matter, who needs to relearn, or learn for the first time, how to live and be a truly productive member of society living, working and functioning sober and free of the bondage created from the past, we will continue to bury our citizens. People need a chance, and deserve one, to get a life and it begins with detox treatment, recovery centres, education and life skills training support, community connection, compassion, love and understanding. I know this is possible because it worked for me, 19 months ago when a judge sent me for the first time in 20-plus years of struggling to treatment. I got access to everything I needed to be building a real life for myself.

Despite being currently incarcerated due to being sentenced for my original possession charge, I had 18 months in the community and will continue on this path for the rest of my life because I have the tools and coping skills that I never had before.

We need to open our hearts a little more and offer solutions to the real issue which is not the crimes but lie in the human being committing them. Anyone can change if given the right opportunity in the right environment that is supportive to succeed.

It is time to refocus our resources—people don’t have to die anymore.

Scott Hulshof

Oliver

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