RELEVANT Support Services
Relevant Support Services
I’d like to share just an example of what I mean by relevant social support services.
This year, Wednesday, August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day. In Langley that means as a community we’re bringing awareness to the fact that over the last few years - Langley alone has suffered the loss of 260 people. Lives that were lost due to an overdose.
The assumption often is that they were probably homeless - but nothing could be further than the truth. As of June 2022 84 % of overdoses occur in a residence. The overdose crisis is NOT solely a street issue or a homeless issue. That is the power of STIGMA and the consequence of ignorance.
Stigma and ignorance is what prevents real understanding from taking place. As long as they thrive so will the overdose crisis in our communities - and we will continue to see this kind of loss of life - 84% of the time in our homes. Just not yours - right?
Let’s remove the statistics though - because whether home alone or homeless and alone they were a parent or a sibling; a child, or an uncle. Relationally - they were anything but isolated and the ripple effect of their loss has left a tsunami of grief and pain in its wake for those left behind.
Naloxone! That was supposed to be the antidote for it all. Yes - it is an antidote and it does save hundreds of lives in our communities - thousands in our country. So WHY then do we still see year over year increases of overdose deaths ? Its called SHAME … brought on with STIGMA - JUDGMENT and it drives people into isolation - alone into their own brokenness - into their own private hell.
Show me where judgment, shame … stigma has ever brought life - or wholeness to someone dealing with brokenness. Truth is we’re all broken on some level because of life experiences or trauma of some kind - we’re just probably more adept and still able to cope with it - with the illusion that we can still keep “it” under control - whether its a drug issue, a mental health issue or something else.
As a community - this is where we must change. The antidote to our overdose crisis as a community comes through laying down the judgment and shame first - then follows the needle. This takes work - thinking another way about a problem we’re resistant to really face because it may mean facing our own questions and come and be apart of the solution with compassion and commitment.
Addressing the overdose crisis is not just a personal struggle to be defeated but a community commitment towards another with compassion and understanding backed up with the WILL to ensure that the resources are available to support their journey to wholeness.
As a community we need a full continuum of support services working towards reducing stigma around drug use is a vital part of the work toward decreasing barriers to a whole critical system of care. Yes - with law enforcement we need to decrease the flow and continue to criminalize the pushers but we need to build a continuum of care for substance use for people within our community by increasing access to harm-reduction programs, such as safe consumption sites, safer supply and naloxone all of which have proven effective in saving lives and recovery.
This is our challenge and will not be easy requiring us as a community to be open to another way, to understand and come together. We need to collaborate and seek co-operation with all levels of government, health and social agencies.
My priority is in making sure our community has access to relevant support services that include our growing needs for all; seniors, families, and support for individuals with mental health concerns. We don’t just want to survive in the different stages of life but THRIVE and this is the kind of leadership I’m committed to providing as we all look and work together in seeing Langley City thrive now and in the future!
Please reach out - message me if you'd like get together and discuss this further. I'm always open to listen and talk.