Mothers Gather as a Force for Harm Reduction

Mothers Gather as a Force for Harm Reduction

You go about daily life, wander from the kitchen to grab coffee, and back to the fridge for some foodstuffs to make the sandwich for your son’s lunch before he heads off to school. He is in grade 12, but having troubles.

Communication, though good in the past, has gotten worse over the high school years. You begin to lose contact on the what’s what of your son’s activities. You go to his room to wake him up: knock, knock, knock, in a gentle rhythm.

No answer, curious panic, you turn the knob, push gentle on the door, and peek in. He’s not there. You are worried, don’t know where he is or where he went last night. You hear a knock, knock, knock – solid, loud, authoritative, at your door.

A rhythm reminiscent of that which you knocked at your son’s door. You feel a sting of uncertainty and panic. You rush to the front door, peek through the eyehole as you press your face to the door.

It’s the RCMP. You open the door and get the news. Your child, your son, died from an opioid overdose the night before. This, of course, is a tale. But the theme of the experience is becoming a common death experience on the part of families across the country. Parents losing children.

Mothers do not want to have to deal with this anymore, as the public reaction is not swift. Some are mobilizing for the implementation of the only methodology with evidence behind it. That being harm reduction.

One mother is Tina Kavanagh, who’s son is David. He left rehabilitation in September of 2017. “I was really worried knowing he was out because fentanyl was introduced to Cambridge [Ont.] six months prior to him getting out of rehab.”

On October 12th of 2017, only two weeks after David left the halfway house in Kitchener, Ontario. Kavanagh received a call. His cousin’s wife had found David’s lifeless body at 6:15 am.

You see the thematic similarities. There was a syringe in David’s hand. Harm reduction is a needed methodology for the improvement of community health and to save individual lives like David.

Kavanagh suspects there was an injection of heroin laced with fentanyl that lead to the death of Death. Although, the toxicology report, at the time of the article, had not come out (Ibid.). Fentanyl is 100x more powerful than morphine.

The expected deaths from 2017 were 4,000 in 2017 alone. There was a plan of action launched in November of 2016 to help deal with the ongoing crisis through the territories and provinces of the country.

The number of opioid-related deaths was expected to hit at least 4,000 by the end of last year. In November, 2016, the federal government launched an action plan to address the far-reaching crisis with the provinces and territories.

In Wabana, Bell Island, Kavanagh and other mothers of intravenous drug users are gathering together to work for the benefit of the general public through “stocking an RV with clean needles and information on harm reduction, recovery options, rehab programs and drug counselling.”

Other women, such as Susan Boone, have undergone a similar tragedy with the almost overdose death of her 24-year-old daughter. Boone says, “Harm reduction is paramount. If they’re sick and dying of disease, they’re never going to get better.”

Another mother named Sheila Lahey has a son who is a drug user. She runs a needle exchange program out of her home. She, of course, gets support, which comes from the Safe Works Access Program, as well as a local activist named Brian Rees.

Rees takes a 4-hour trip to exchange dirty needles for the clean ones. About a dozen people use the service per day. Over 12,000 needles were collected and disposed – for the public good and deserving commendation – of, by the community of Wabana.

“I was shocked at how much they’re going through – how really bad this situation is,” Lahey said. Her own 33-year-old son went from full-time work as an electrician to heavily indebted and on social assistance based on a cocaine habit.

Wabana Mayor Gary Gosine lost a 35-year-old nephew from an overdose. The mayor is leading a grassroots harm reduction movement as well.

Kavanagh said, “As long as I keep myself busy with keeping David’s memory going, I’m okay…I just want to keep his memory alive.” That is at least a start, and definitely a driving heart behind the compassionate efforts of harm reduction.

References

Jones, L. (2018, January 16). Mothers band together for harm reduction. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/amid-opioid-crisis-mothers-band-together-for-harmreduction/article37631505/.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-large

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He is a Tobis Fellow (2016) at the University of California, Irvine’s (UCI) Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center). He researches in the Learning Analytics Research Group, works as the Gordon Neighbourhood House Community Journalist/Blogger, researches and writes for the Marijuana Party of Canada, and is a contributor for The Voice Magazine. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

Needles Potentially Placed Deliberately in Victoria, BC

Needles Potentially Placed Deliberately in Victoria, BC

One Victoria Island Health official speculated on the potential of sabotage by opponents of harm reductions based on reportage by the Victoria, British Columbia police of an increase in the quantity of discarded syringes (Britten, 2018; CBC News, 2018a).

This did have consequences because a three-year-old child on Pandora Avenue was pricked with a needle as well as a similar event with a woman finding two needles. The needles, according to the local police, were deliberately placed (Ibid.; CBC News, 2018b).

The Chief Medical Health Officer for the health authority, Dr. Richard Stanwick, speculated that some Canadian citizens with misgivings or disinclinations for support of harm reduction philosophy and methodologies planted the objects.

“What we are really concerned about is that this isn’t some sort of effort to discredit efforts around harm reduction,” Stanwick stated. As well, he noted that there is legal and research evidence to strongly support the claim that drug use has a huge stigma.

Linked to the stigma, the opponents, based on the many cases of academic and legal evidence, may be ‘activists’ of a sort and plant the needles in opposition to the harm reduction gaining further public acceptance.

Stanwick stated the public finds fewer deliberately discarded needles. “The events are so basically scattered,” Stanwick said, “It doesn’t appear that there is any distinct pattern to them other than they happened over time.”

The concern still remains about public safety hazards with the potentially deliberately placed needles in public places, as in the case of the 3-year-old. The Director of Solid Outreach, which is a drug user network, said, “Within the street community, most people would be very upset with people for leaving needles behind even just in the street, let alone in a more threatening manner.”

References

Britten, L. (2018, January 18). Health official suggests Victoria syringes may have been placed by harm reduction opponents. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/victoria-syringe-discarded-island-health-1.4492552.

CBC News. (2018a, January 17). Victoria officials concerned by spike in discarded needle prickings. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/victoria-officials-concerned-by-spike-in-needle-prickings-1.4490762.

CBC News. (2018b, January 15). Victoria woman finds syringe police believe was ‘deliberately placed’ in planter box. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/victoria-police-vicpd-syringe-1.4488965.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-large

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He is a Tobis Fellow (2016) at the University of California, Irvine’s (UCI) Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center). He researches in the Learning Analytics Research Group, works as the Gordon Neighbourhood House Community Journalist/Blogger, researches and writes for the Marijuana Party of Canada, and is a contributor for The Voice Magazine. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

Bundale on the Upcoming Market for Cannabis

Bundale on the Upcoming Market for Cannabis

Brett Bundale talked about the end of cannbis prohibition in the Hamilton Spectator (2017). He proposes the thought experiment that the new providers for cannabis, the seller, will have outlets that are “very chic, very modern” with a clean look to them.

Only 6 or 7 months to go – 7 at the time of the article – before recreational cannabis begins to be legalized throughout the Canadian provinces and territories. The sellers are looking to capitalize on the days right after legalization, as there surely is a dormant market for cannabis that is bond to flourish in a Canada where marijuana use is widely accepted.

But the details as to what the purchase of over-the-counter recreational cannabis will look like is much in discussion and not certain. A lawyer from Ottawa, Trina Fraser, said, “Think more like tobacco as opposed to alcohol…It’s not going to be like you’ll walk in and there are samples.”

There are some hints such as New Brunswick’s with the retail scheme apparently “the most advanced among the province,” Bundale notes, “The province has issued construction specs featuring a standalone brick store with a black awning featuring the CannabisNB logo.”

The staff in the building will inform the potential customers about safe and responsible recreational cannabis use tied to harm reduction. The explanations will include the law of the area.

“In a single day, buying cannabis will go from a black-market purchase, steeped in surreptitious dealings and paranoid dealers, to a modern shopping experience,” Bundale stated, “A drug long condemned as the stuff of street gangs, organized crime and outlaw motorcycle clubs will be branded, packaged and displayed in stores.”

There will be an excise tax as well as consumption taxes too.

Saskatchewan wants or is looking into a private model. Yukon may limit the selling to the outlets run by the government; whereas, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut remain in consultations with the public.

Bundale said, “Governments are also still hammering out exactly how much the product will cost, how much it will be taxed, the minimum age for buyers, where smoking pot will be legal and driving impairment rules.”

A policy analyst at the C.D. Howe Institute in Toronto, Ontario – which states that it is most influential think tank in the nation, in Canada. – named Rosalie Wyonch said, “For the provinces that will go Crown corporation for retail, it’s probably going to be a very polished experience.”

Wyonch stated that the privately sold cannabis outlets will have a variety or a “spectrum” of provisions based on the price tags. CSSDP’s own Jenna Valleriani, who is a University of Toronto Ph.D. candidate said that buying cannabis must be more convenient in order to fulfill the original goal of eliminating th black market.

“For people who have purchased from a friend or acquaintance for 15 years, those are really hard purchasing patterns to shift,” she says. “If you did have to go to a retail shop and wait in line for an hour, that’s likely going to deter people from going there.”

Bundale, B. (2017, December 26). What legal weed stores will look like: ‘Very chic, very modern, very clean-cut’. Retrieved from https://www.thespec.com/news-story/8022569-what-legal-weed-stores-will-look-like-very-chic-very-modern-very-clean-cut-/.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen

Member-at-large

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He is a Tobis Fellow (2016) at the University of California, Irvine’s (UCI) Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center). He researches in the Learning Analytics Research Group, works as the Gordon Neighbourhood House Community Journalist/Blogger, researches and writes for the Marijuana Party of Canada, and is a contributor for The Voice Magazine. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.