With the term “Opioid Crisis” proliferating over traditional and digital medias on an almost daily basis, the call for immediate action is now.
Toronto hospitals experienced the highest number of drug related emergency room visits of the year last week, and it is becoming abundantly clear that what ever is being done currently is clearly not working. It is in difficult times that solutions to complex and widespread problems and crisis are not always clearly identifiable.
The solution to the Opioid Crisis IS available however. It isn’t a quick fix; human issues such as this do not get swept under the rug to disappear overnight.
What needs to be done to turn the tables on the Opioid Crisis involves a committed and dual faceted approach. Like an out of control fire we must both address the immediate symptoms as well as the combustible source.
In Toronto, politicians are making legislative promises to ensure that Naloxone Kits are more accessible and available to first responders. The immediate symptoms of overdose require education, communication and instruction. What does overdose look like? What do I do? Who do I call? How can I help? By knowing the answers to these questions proactively, we can combat the immediate symptoms of the Opioid Crisis.
This dissemination of real and factual information is important but it remains as just a small faction of the process that needs to occur to influence this crisis towards remission. The second facet also involves education and communication.
It involves society’s commitment to understanding why people use opioids or other drugs and substances in the first place. Creating avenues of dialogue and providing environments and resources to identify and address a person’s core and underlying issues is where the key to authentic and real progress will be made.
Substance use is the symptom. Substance use is a person’s solution to a problem. Each person’s problem, situation or pain may be different or unique but resources and opportunities to identify them, and start the process towards managing and processing them in a healthier way are paramount towards recovery.
Say Goodbye To Stigma
We need to let people know that it’s ok to talk about these problems, issues and hurts. We need to talk, we need to listen, and then we need to use that information to connect people to the pathways and resources to address the core issues directly. The absence of this approach will result in the continuation of temporary escape, the numbing of pain and hurtful feelings and emotions. This leads to loss. And this is the Opioid Crisis.
Be Prepared, Be Ready
If you know someone who you suspect uses opioids, be prepared. Get a free Naloxone kit from your local pharmacist. They will tell you how to use it, when to use it and help you identify the symptoms of overdose. Ask Questions. Be ready. You might find however, that if you become a safe person to talk with, to validate real feelings and are able to listen without judgement; a path and willingness towards real recovery will emerge.