Monday, 5 August 2013

My heart sang with joy....and then there was silence.

Three months ago, I read the following headline in The Guardian, which made my heart sing with joy. 

My family and many others have waited years for this to happen. And, they weren’t just regular years either. They were filled with stress, worry, devastation, disappointment, shock, tears, and sadness. After reading the article, I felt that change was finally going to happen here on PEI. It felt good to hear something positive on this subject. It felt good to know the government was paying attention. It felt good to know that people were going to be helped to break free from the grips of addiction. FINALLY!

In the three months since that article appeared, it was reported that:

1.       PEI’s needle exchange use is up 60%. While it is positive that IV users have a place to get clean needles and return used ones in order to prevent the spread of infections and diseases, this significant increase is indicative of the overall increase in IV drug use, especially among our younger demographic (see #2). 

2.       Rates of HepatitisC on PEI have doubled over the last decade, which is also tied into the increase in IV drug use. As if that wasn’t bad enough, of the 50 new cases per year, at least 50% of the individuals are between 20 to 30 years of age (compare that to only 10% in that age group 15 years ago).  Important note: 5 of the 50 cases were not related to IV drug use. 

3.       Our crime rate is up for the second year in a row. This includes only police reported crime. Many more crimes go unreported. We had the highest crime rate per capita for provinces east of Manitoba. It is estimated 80% or more of the inmates in Sleepy Hollow are there because of their drug addiction. One only has to read the newspaper to see addiction mentioned as a mitigating factor in most cases before the court. For this reason, we can easily conclude that addiction is behind the increase in crime here on our gentle Island.

With all this bad news related to addiction, you would expect our government to be on top of it. Yet, there has been nothing but silence since the article in May that promised aggressive action. Why? Also, why has the review on Mental Health and Addictions not been released yet?

According to the article mentioned earlier in this post, “Currie said government will be ‘moving fairly aggressively’ to find longer-term solutions to the complex problems associated with youth addictions.”  I guess that Currie’s idea of “aggressively” is different from mine.  When lives are on the line, aggressively should mean right now – not when summer is over (or even later)!

To be fair, I don’t put this problem squarely on the shoulders of Health Minister, Doug Currie. He is one man with a huge portfolio to take care of. The Departments of Health, Education, and Justice all played a role in this problem reaching epidemic levels, and they all need to play a role in fixing it. We cannot forget about the Premier either! As the head of this province, Premier Ghiz is ultimately responsible for what happens here. Premier Ghiz, we cannot afford to wait any longer on this issue. 

It is positive that the government is holding committee hearings in the fall but we need to take action now. You already know the extent of the problem. The evidence is all around you. 

As a parent, citizen, and compassionate human being, I respectfully ask our government to take meaningful action on the issue of addiction before it is too late to turn it around. 



  1. As per usual,bureaucratic "red tape"~empty promises~give society what they want to hear.Sadly it may take a close family member to become "another statistic" before action from any Govt official is ever taken.As a mother of a success story ... may we never lose our voice or determination to make a difference and at least pave the way for the future .Keep on keepin on Rose,your voice for all the addicts still suffering needs to be heard.

  2. Great article Rose! Let's hope the committee meetings are filled with parents educating the" Powers that Be" with first hand experience.We have and continue to do our part in this problem.We as parents can only do so much,when the treatment options are so limited and availability so sparce.It is way past time,Sadly, to late for many,for the government to step up to the plate and stop hiding their heads in the sand. "The Gentle Island" What an oxymoron!!

  3. Rose, again you are right on top of the issues affecting our addiction situation in PEI.
    My daughter spent another 5 days at Mount Herbert and the stress of the entire week
    was "where am I going to go" once I leave here. She went in with the hope of going
    to Lacey House or Anderson house as her situation is just about at rock bottom but
    according to Addictions she is not ready to committ yet to anything and needs to make
    a plan. So now she is back out there somewhere, I do not know where at this time and
    under these circumstances she will dig herself an even deeper hole. I am doing my part
    by "doing nothing" but it is the most difficult thing I face everyday. I even told her the other
    day when she text me from somebody elses phone that I don't want her to text me at work
    or stop by to see me during work hours. Its too upsetting. She can come home for a meal
    and see her kids everyday if she wants to but then she has to leave. I wish she would have
    been able to go somewhere safer after detox but unfortunately that is not an option.
    Please post when this public meetings will be . I am going to attend and maybe I will be
    able to meet you Rose. Keep up the great work for all of our loved ones.

    1. It is stressful enough to have an addicted child. Finding out that we don't have adequate services here on PEI - at a time when we are living a nightmare and are terrified - is devastating!! My son was always stressed while in detox too because he knew there would be no place to go for help in the end. We have to do a better job!

  4. HEy lets just throw every little kid on methadone that trys opiates and mise well give them ritalin to so are crime rate goes down and no need of them ever haveing i chance to feel like a real recoverd addict and grow lets just give them freee drugs until 10 years go by then there bodys are falling apart and we just say o we didnt know ;)

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Kyle. I am of the opinion that we have to be open to all treatment options in order to find what works best for each person. For some, it is methadone. However, I think when one is on methadone, there needs to be a plan to come off of it over time. Part of the plan needs to include treatment so that one learns to deal with triggers, guilt, etc. so that when they come off of methadone, all the hard emotional/mental/spiritual work has been done. It is great when people can work an abstinence based program but it is not right for everyone and we should NEVER frown upon people who have to take that route. People die because they can't get any other type of help (other than abstinence based). I don't want people to die. We can't expect everyone to be the same. One size does not fit all in treatment. Never has. Never will.

  5. Rose you do so much good! As a mother of two addicted children, your blog has given me great comfort. My husband and I met with Doug Currie and Michael Mayne, Deputy Minister of Health, in June to discuss addiction issues. I live in the Upper Prince area so D. Currie is my MLA. He assured me over and over that he had a plan in the works and that it was going to be announced within the next few weeks. Of course, that never happened but what did happen is that he delayed the health report. I now believe that what Mr. Currie was most interested in is the two votes that my husband and I represent. Both my children are now on suboxone. I pay for it myself and it is definitely a financial strain but the results were immediate. I see improvements in their attitudes and self-esteem every day. They now have their lives back, are working, getting healthier and have a fighting chance at a good future. Every addict in PEI deserves that opportunity and Kyle, methadone may not be the best solution but compared to robbing places and sticking needles in your arm, it is far better.

    1. So glad to hear that your children are doing well because they've found an option that works for them. I pray that they will stay on track. Please keep on talking to Doug Currie and don't let up. It is important that our voices are heard. Addiction flourishes in the face of silence. We have to continue to speak up!


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