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An outliers opinion

An Overdose Prevention Site (OPS) has been proposed by a bunch of activists and the first one will set up on Friday. A shitstorm of protest has been produced by a large majority of the population. This outrage is driven by the fear of lawless drug addicts who will assemble on private property and buy drugs from dealers who will know the location and feed illegal drugs to the addicts who will then proceed to vandalise the neighbouring properties and make nuisances of themselves. Such is the fear that this scenario has become possible in the minds of the local opposition. For such fears read the comments in the post on CobourgNews – here.

That is far from the reality of the organiser – Missy McLean. All she wants to do is to provide a safe space, on private property, where drug-users will feel safe in taking their own drugs under some kind of volunteer supervision. “This activity will save lives” she says. It may be an offense to be in possession of illegal drugs but the local Police, like all others in Ontario, will not charge anybody for simple possession. Is this any different to a backyard BYOB beer bash?

This discussion has very few supporters and much opposition. But the only consensus appears to be that Society is failing to stop the death toll, as somebody said there has been an overdose of one a week for the past few weeks. But how to stop that death toll is an elusive target. Some people obviously do not want to stop it as they espouse the “tough love” position. “Addicts do it by choice and we can’t help them!” is a refrain often heard. Yet these same people bemoan the fact that the users and the mentally ill are taking up space on the streets, doing petty crimes and ruining the Town’s reputation.

I have to print a comment by a poster on CobourgNews it is moving (well for me) and personal, it took a lot of guts to put a real name to it: thank you Wally Keeler.

“…good chance it’s not the right help for them.” (a quote from a previous post that prompted the reply)

Perhaps that is the case in some instances, but inhaling/injecting XXX is the best help they can find. If you grew up in an abusive home, raped by a stepfather, or beaten, or mom is a drunk who couldn’t care less about anything, and finally, at age 14 they experience a sensation that is thrilling and wonderful, a feeling sooooo good that one escapes the horror memories of their young bitter life. It’s so good that one wants to do it again. And again. It insulates one from the lethal stigma of society who wish they would starve to death. Who would want to rehab into such a society? Wishing them to starve to death is no better than the drunken mother who forgets to shop for food and leaves her kids hungry.

Many of them grew up never having been loved by anyone. The only thing that ever loved them was a drug store. Town Council cannot provide love. Bureaucracy cannot provide love — they provide services, but not love. Love, as in caring. Society cares about itself, and wants to be protected from the loveless. We are concerned about the unsightliness of such individuals or of subsequent petty criminality. Why should they care about society that never cared about them until it got to a crisis level? Thankfully, there are a few who really do care. All heart and sometimes with insufficient head.

I recall when I was a teenager commenting to a downtown retailer about Suds Lee, the town drunk, that he was useless to society. The retailer corrected me, saying that he was there to educate people, so that when mothers walk by they can tell their child, “See him?, you don’t wanna grow up to be like that.”

As the headline says this is an Outlier’s Opinion, see definition on the right. The BurdReport feels strongly about this subject even though nearly all others in the discussion either have no solutions or want them to go away, in whatever fashion. We stand proud on the words printed in this post.

We agree with Missy McLean when she describes this OPS site as an “act of resistance” hopefully it will drive public opinion to realise that help for the street people is expensive, needed and unpopular. We can only hope that the hard opinions of those who are using this OPS siting as a chance to vent their opinions about drug users and the need to “do something!” will sooner or later see the need to apply political pressure on the various levels of Governments to provide the “wraparound” services needed.

All we can do is repeat the words of Bryan printed a few days ago:

Follow the advice given by a commenter called Bryan:

  • Town residents are rightly concerned for the plight of the “homeless”. Nonetheless, it is not Cobourg’s problem
  • The Province and the County need to stepped up now.
  • Write, email, phone Dougie and Piccini. Keep kicking their asses until they take serious action and deal with this problem

Well said Bryan!

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