Mother pleads for recovery not safe injection sites in Okanagan

LETTER: “Addiction has to be treated first. Not a safe injection site”

I have never written a letter to the editor. I have a story to tell that has been ongoing for a decade. I was born and raised in this community. I have never been compelled to tell my private story until this past month.

I have a son. He is 30 this September. He was born and raised in this community. Completed Grade 12 in a resource room setting. He is known by many. We have had great support from the non-profit Venture Training, RCMP and Special Olympics. He has an IQ of 52 (kindergarten to Grade 2), he has a new addiction (on and off two years) to crystal meth, and he has generational mental health issues. I am being told by the government agencies to let him go to the streets and figure it out. You would not believe what the homeless are provided with from the non-profits downtown. Then there are the government agencies. Social Services will give you a cheque on the spot, on a Friday afternoon. Believing whatever story a particular client tells. This particular client is connected to many other government agencies CLBC, social development and IHA (developmental disability mental health) Why is there not one database that links all the clients’ information? One government agency helps you, and the next government agency sabotages all the steps forward you just made. Why would you need to go home, even if you have a good one? Would you let your Grade 2 son make that kind of decision by himself? The government agencies think we should. No to safe injection, they need recovery. Please, everyone, let your voice be heard at this critical time. We need to change how we do things.

I have a vested, emotional attachment to the subject of homeless vs addiction. Addiction has to be treated first. Not a safe injection site. Are you kidding me? This has become ridiculous.

READ MORE: Vernon overdose prevention site challenged

If you want recovery there is nothing in B.C. that CLBC or Interior Health can come up with. Smoke and mirrors. Even if you are willing to pay.

CLBC, Interior Health and Social Services want you to throw your family member to the wolves and become another statistic of addiction and homelessness. You are then off of that particular government agency’s work plate and on to another. You cannot maneuver the government agencies without your family involved. Not with an IQ of 52. It has been hard enough for me. Non-profits are left to pick up the pieces way beyond their government contracts.

I do not want to rant. I have so many valid points and stories to be told, I hope I get the chance to share some of the ludicrous things that have happened.

Condoning the use of mind-altering substances is absolutely the wrong answer.

The month of May I have had to be my own Detox Centre, psychosis is very scary. My son is asking for help. There is nothing in our province for people with disabilities and addiction. Most on the streets have both.

I will not give up.

My most grateful thank you to our non-profits, especially Venture Training, employment and home share, Special Olympic volunteers and without a doubt our RCMP.

If you see my son please give him encouragement to get his life back on the track. Tell him he has a home and he best get there before it is too late.

Say no to safe injection sites. They should not be injecting at all. Help give them the chance at recovery in a clinically-staffed facility.

Name withheld by request

Editor’s note: The name has been withheld to protect the privacy of the individual and their family due to the sensitive nature of the content.

READ MORE: Fatal overdose of daughter in Vernon prompts mom to help others


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