It is about time! It is so amazing to finally see addiction get the attention it deserves. Even Premier Robert Ghiz talked about it in his year end interview with Guardian reporter, Wayne Thibodeau. I cannot tell you how much it warmed my heart to hear him finally speak in a meaningful way on this important issue. I taped the interview and watched that part three times already. I waited a long time to hear him acknowledge that more needs to be done. Many other Islanders battling addiction and their families have waited as well. And, let me tell you, our wait was not easy. It was full of pain, worry, stress, grief and so much more.
These types of conversations are very important because they raise awareness about the issue to the general public, many of whom do not understand addiction, so they still see it as a moral failing. But, like I told my son when he was in early recovery and wanting so badly to earn our trust, talk is cheap. Your actions speak louder than your words. If you want us to have faith that it will be different this time, you have to show us and he did! We need the same from government.
This epidemic didn’t just happen overnight. It has been building for years. The people, who could have prevented it from getting to this point, didn’t. I, and many others, felt frustrated and let down on so many levels. To make it even worse, we, as parents, were being blamed for the epidemic by some people, even though there are MANY factors that contribute to drug abuse and addiction, many of which are outside of a parent’s control (genetics, mental illness, supply in the community, etc.).
Not that it makes it any easier for those who have been suffering, but PEI is not the only place in this situation. North America, as the biggest consumers of prescription pain medications, has been hit hard. Governments were not prepared and reacted much too slowly. Many are still dragging their feet. The war on drugs was a complete failure because this is a health issue, not a justice issue. Governments have been slow to right the wrong. With its recent investment, our government is starting the process of change, which is good. I firmly believe that PEI is small enough to be a leader in this area. We have many unique advantages over other places, the biggest ones being our sense of community and caring attitudes.
I think I have a pretty high BS detector when it comes to the issue of addiction. As I mentioned above, I need to see action in order to be convinced that the government is taking the problem seriously now. Based on a couple of recent actions, I feel that change is in the air.
First of all, the 1.2 million dollar investment made recently. Of course, this investment is not nearly enough, but it is a start. We can’t change the past, but we can change the present and the future. This is a positive step in the right direction. Our son was able to get the help he needed thanks to the investment. He is in early recovery and doing amazingly well. We are so proud of him.
There is one other thing that convinced me more than anything else, but I will cover that in another blog posting at a later date, when the time is right. Just know that I was impressed enough that I began to feel hopeful that the government truly is serious about tackling the issue of addiction. Time will tell.
In a couple of days, my blog will be one year old. It has had almost 68,000 visits to date! This shows me that people are very interested in this topic, which puts us miles ahead of where we were just a couple of years ago when addiction was seldom discussed. Another positive sign of change!
I wish you and yours a healthy and happy 2014.