New view on addiction needed

I appreciate Neil Godbout's recent editorial about the overdose crisis we have had in BC and Canada for the past number of years. I completely agree that it is a public health crisis.

On July 5, 2020, my precious 26-year old son, Chandler, died, alone, from methamphetamine and fentanyl toxicity in downtown Calgary. I will never forget that day as an RCMP officer came to my home to tell me the news. Chan, as we called him, had struggled with drug use (primarily meth) for the past 5 or 6 years and had struggled with alcohol use for an additional 5 years. I had always thought this outcome -of hearing from a police officer about my son's death -was possible, but it was still a shock when it happened. I do not wish that experience on any parent. 

Chan was a son, brother, grandson, cousin, nephew, friend, and, most importantly, a human being. 

I was present when he entered this world and I was there to help place his body in the crematorium, shut and lock the door, and push the button that started the cremation process. I stayed for a minute contemplating his brief life before I had to leave the room. In between the day he was born and that terrible second day, I was blessed to be his father. 

I don't have any answers as to why he started taking drugs. I have decided to let that question be. All I know is that I miss him terribly, every day, as do his other family members and friends. 

More effectively dealing with this public health crisis is going to take incredible political will, lots of money, and a complete change in the way Canadians view drug addiction. I invite all of us to begin that process, starting by being more compassionate to those who struggle with drug addition.

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Paul Siakaluk

Prince George

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