For over two years, we have been hearing of the devastation surrounding the ever-expanding opioid crisis in the Okanagan and British Columbia. The good news is that there is now a strong focus on these issues, but the bad news is that the numbers are simply not declining.
Much of the problem related to the fentanyl and overdose epidemic is the stubborn stigma attached to these issues. Many people feel that the drug user is creating his or her own problem.
It is far more complex than that.
As experts have pointed out, nobody sets out to be an addict. Many young people who experiment with drugs – which has been occurring for decades – or youths who are just looking for a way out of the pain of their alcohol or abuse-fueled home lives, have turned to drugs to escape. In fact, current statistics point to a strong increase in overdose deaths in middle-class Canadian men, as compared to the stereotypical unemployed, homeless drug user. This is due in part to the fact that fentanyl is now found in cocaine, and the people using cocaine consider themselves recreational drug users.