Re: Abbotsford News Editorial on Overdose Deaths

If you wonder why we have a growing epidemic of drug overdoses, reading the Abbotsford News editorial on the need to reduce the death toll from the overdoses will provide enlightenment.


What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”                                                              Mark Twain

I am reasonably sure that the Abbotsford News’s purpose in writing the editorial was not to showcase why overdoses, addiction, homelessness and other rrelated issues exist and continue to grow.

However, reading the editorial makes clear the writer is part of the  conforming majority and complacently adjusted to accepting what society believes – knows for sure – about drug use and related issues.

The problem with that – the reason  drug use [et al] continues to grow and worsen – is that what is accepted as known for sure is wrong.

If you were in Vancouver, wanted to go to the US and ‘knew’ the US was east of Vancouver ‘knowing’ would not prevent ending up in Nova Scotia not the US.

If you ‘know’ sending people to detox or treatment results in them not using drugs, therefore will not overdose, you advocate “instant access to opioid agonist treatment to anybody who expresses a passing interest.”

The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not of the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but of the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

If you are a creatively maladjusted polymath doing your best includes firing up your little grey cells and thinking. Wondering how there remains a single person who uses drugs – in light the number of people who have been through detox and treatment.

Looking at the numbers [the number of drug users minus the number of people sent to detox or treatment], at this point in time there should be negative drug users. Whatever a negative drug user looks like.

Research – googling – reveals recent studies of the outcomes resulting from sending people to detox or treatment when, as in BC, they are stand alone programs. Without additional services and supports the overwhelming majority returned to using their substance of choice in less than a year. The success rate achieved by detox and treatment were the same that would have been experienced if nothing had been done.

We do not have a treatment system – we have a recycling system that endlessly recycles people through the system.

For decades [close to a century] we have continued the same actions and ignored the evidence that not only did we fail to achieve useful results, the situation worsened.


As part of a Housing First planned continuum of care treatment facilities, detox etc are useful tools accomplishing their part of the continuum of care moving people to Wellness.

Unfortunately all our funds are committed to programs and services that allow the problems to worsen.

BC and Canada do not have unlimited resources – despite the wilful denial and behaviours of citizens about government’s financial reality.

There is not enough money to cover cost increases and maintain existing services. Without increasing taxes, or cutting healthcare and/or education there is no money for needed new services.

We have a choice – do or don’t.

Don’t and continue spending money on actions that allow the problem to grow, accepting the negative consequences and cost of this problem and the associated problems it directly creates.

Do and boldly go where we have never gone before

CHANGE. Scary, sweeping CHANGE. Creatively Maladjusted driven change. Leap off the cliff and build your flying machine on the way down change.

By continuing to do what we knew for sure and ignoring the evidence it was not so, that it was not working we have eliminated the less disruptive, less fearful options.

Whether it was deliberate or not, through our actions and non-actions we have chosen to reduce our choices to two.  

We have the understanding and ability to address drug use, homelessness, ethics, what it is to be Canadian, the Economy, the future and what the future looks like.

We can be bold embrace change, get in front of change and influence the direction and effect of change.

Or we can continue to ignore reality and the evidence that what we know for sure ain’t so – until our house of cards collapses under the weight of the costs and consequences of our insistence that reality conform to our wishes.  

Because no amount of ignoring or wilful denial will change reality one iota.

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