LETTERS: Addiction is not a lifestyle

Editor:
Re: ‘Safe-consumption’ sites considered, July 20.

Editor:

Re: ‘Safe-consumption’ sites considered, July 20.

Forty-three drug overdoses in Surrey on the weekend of July 16-17 and Mayor Linda Hepner refers to illicit drug use as a “lifestyle.”

Really, Mayor Hepner?

Starting to use illicit drugs may be a choice – perhaps a recreational choice, but how often is it a way to deal with chronic pain, to self-medicate a mental health issue or to forget past trauma?

And how quickly is it no longer a choice?

When drug use is no longer a choice, it is called an addiction – not a lifestyle. And that makes it a public-health issue.

While I am grateful that the City is now considering the possibility of harm-reduction sites, when the mayor continues to refer to addiction as a “lifestyle,” it gives little hope for change to how we treat this heartbreaking and widespread issue in Surrey.

Have we not gotten past the failed “just say no” strategy?

Our B.C. medical community has extensive evidence for best practices in treating addiction and Fraser Health has a plan to put that evidence into practice. Let them do so!

It’s time for the City to get out of the way of the health system. We don’t have to rely on luck for there to be, “no deaths so far,” as our mayor so eloquently stated.

Surely, Surrey can do better than that.

RaeAnne Rose, Surrey