LETTER: Safe injection sites only one piece of treatment puzzle

Addiction is never a choice anyone makes, no matter what free services they may receive

Re: Safe injection sites poor use of funds (Letters, Dec. 9)

Addiction is never a choice anyone makes, no matter what free services they may receive and to assume so is foolish. Anyone who has witnessed a loved one suffer from addiction knows this.

Addiction is often a result of people attempting to deal with issues many of us can’t fathom, such as abuse, trauma or mental health problems such as depression. Recent research has even linked head injuries to some substance abuse.

No one wants to remain an addict, but when one is in the throes of addiction, it can be very difficult to think clearly in order to gain the perspective of a healthy, non-addicted person. Safe injection sites are part of a multi-pronged approach which treats addiction as it truly is, a medical issue. Injection sites are proven to save lives, reduce costs on the health-care system and provide a point of access for health professionals to connect with the most marginalized individuals while working towards entering treatment.

Along with funding harm-reduction facilities such as safe injection, we must fund detox and rehabilitation facilities. Currently without someone advocating for an addict it can be almost impossible for an addicted individual to navigate the complex system of limited resources available.

Compassion and education are imperative and when working to save a life, it is not the time to lecture on personal responsibility. What kind of society do we live in where those dying are not given help because we don’t like decisions they have made or how they have attempted to deal with a life we have not experienced? It takes someone in a great position of privilege and/or one with a cold heart to say let them die.

Whether it is alcohol, heroin or crystal meth, the addicted in our communities do not need people comparing the difficulty of withdrawal between substances or other judgments, they just need our compassion, assistance and the facilities to get better. It’s time for a new approach, as the war on drugs has failed miserably.

Melissa Wolfe

Colwood