Last week when we learned the primary heroin dealer in Sooke had been selling a dangerous cocktail of drugs that contained everything but heroin, the news was, we suspect, probably met with shrugs and a bit of self righteous tongue clucking.
Drug addicts. Those people need to clean up their act, right?
It didn’t help the warning was issued by the Sooke Shelter Society – a source that served to bolster the belief that the majority of the opioid problem in Sooke and in B.C. in general was an issue for the homeless or severely disadvantaged in society.
Only that isn’t the case.
It’s not primarily the homeless who are dying from these drugs.
The majority of drug deaths in B.C. – 73 per cent – are happening to people who live in private residences, as opposed to nine per cent in the ranks of the homeless.
The victims span all demographics, but they are primarily male, unmarried, and between the ages of 30 and 59. Most are employed in the trades or transport, although about half are unemployed at the time of their death.
And the people who are dying are people you may know. They’re friends, neighbours and family members, and in B.C., they’re dying at a rate of about 90 people a month.
It’s a hidden plague that’s hitting our community, and it’s high time to shine a light on the problem.
Most of us can’t imagine what induces a person to inject themselves with a potentially deadly drug.
Addiction is, after all, a hugely complex and destructive disease.
But if current trends continue, if you don’t already know someone who has a problem with addiction, you will.
And the solutions to the drug problem in Sooke and beyond are equally complex.
But it has to begin with acknowledging the truth that this is a problem that transcends the homeless and affects us all.
We need to educate ourselves about this plague, learn the signs of addiction and help drug users get treatment.
We need to aggressively prosecute those who supply and promote these deadly poisons.
It all begins with admitting that the problem is not the domain of the disadvantaged, but that it has the potential to affect us all.
A failure to concede that fundamental truth will only lead to more lives being shattered, often behind closed doors.