Paul Schlosser-Moller

Paul Schlosser-Moller

LETTERS: Dangers well-known but ignored

Editor:

Re: ‘Dangers of fentanyl must be known,’ Nov. 25.

Editor:

Re: ‘Dangers of fentanyl must be known,’ Nov. 25.

When I read your headline, ‘Dangers of fentanyl must be known,’ initially I read this to mean ‘Dangers of fentanyl must (surely) be known (by now).’

But no, on reading the attached piece, it was actually in the sense of ‘Dangers of fentanyl must be (made) known.’

How could any sentient being in B.C. not know the dangers of fentanyl by now? Especially that sub-culture putting such narcotics into their mouths and into their veins, many of whom seem to spend so much of their lives ‘connected’ via their smartphones?

Now you report: “It’s a message that Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg said needs to get out without delay.”

What other health messages does Hogg need to get out?

That if you choose to smoke tobacco, your health will suffer and smoking may actually kill you?

That if you choose to stop on train tracks when a train is coming, you’ll be killed? That if you choose to jump into deep water but cannot swim, you’ll drown?

That if you choose to drive while impaired, you may kill someone else? That if you choose to have unprotected sex, an unwanted pregnancy or an STD may result? That if you choose not to vote locally, you cannot then complain you are powerless to stop highrise development? That if you choose to drop out of school early, your earning potential will likely suffer?

That if you choose not to have your children immunized against serious communicable diseases, they may contract them? Even, that if you choose to go out in the rain without a raincoat, you’ll get wet and may catch a cold?

The list is endless.

What is important is that these are all choices people can make. But what exactly is it people don’t get about the bad consequences of their bad choices? Such bad choices are rarely made out of ignorance but rather of stupidity.

Because we don’t live in a totalitarian state, people in Canada still enjoy the freedom to choose whether or not to engage in such risky behaviours. For example, we don’t impose prohibition to try and stop drunk drivers, but instead we provide treatment for alcoholics. The same applies to drug addicts who, at least initially, choose to use the drugs that may eventually kill them.

No, this fentanyl tragedy is the collateral damage of this particular choice – the blameless, heartbroken relatives and friends, the straining of already-overstretched health-care resources, the burnout now being seen in first-responders, not to mention the enormous costs to the public at large. It is these people, left to pick up the pieces and to shoulder an often intolerable burden, who are most deserving of our sympathy and gratitude.

So, please, let’s get real with your headline. The dangers of fentanyl are well-known, but some people simply opt to ignore them. It’s their right to do so, but they should be enormously grateful most of us feel responsibility to look after the destructive outcomes.

Not all societies are so benevolent towards what is, after all, an extreme form of a self-inflicted illness, but let’s not pretend people are ignorant of just how foolish are the choices they make, nor suggest they need Hogg to fill them in on their stupidity.

Gerard Ponsford, White Rock