If you’re from the Brantford area, it’s no secret that the community is dealing with a significant drug crisis: specifically an explosion in opioid use. Opioids are pharmaceutical drugs meant to relieve pain, but they are highly addictive.
Nobody intends to get addicted… it just happens. Even people using opioids based on completely legitimate prescriptions can get hooked. Recreational users are at high risk of becoming addicted as well, and are at even higher risk of accidental overdose, which can be fatal.
While the proportion of our youth who are using opioids is relatively small, and those experiencing substance dependence is even smaller, the impact of opioid abuse is tragic.
In Brantford, an alarmingly high number of overdoses increased drastically over the last few years. Softer drugs get laced with these harder drugs, leading to even more overdoses. Discarded needles have become a serious problem in public places including playgrounds and sidewalks.
Many of our youth live in fear that the people they live with will overdose. Even if they happen to be armed with the “opioid epi-pen,” naloxone, they feel immense pressure to be on guard just in case something happens, and often feel that their personal safety has been completely violated.
There are many local children who are in the care of substance-dependent parents or guardians whose basic needs are not being met. But what can be done?
Overprescribing of opioids has already been identified as a logical issue to address, but there is so much more to be done. We believe that there is a strong connection between the supports people have and their likelihood to become substance- dependent.
What if we could create environments that were so positive that people didn’t feel the need to experiment with drugs in the first place? That’s certainly one of our goals at Why Not. What if users had fast access to addictions supports? Or affordable housing? Did you know that the affordable housing wait list is inching closer to being a decade long in Brantford? There is LOTS to be tackled. Work is being done, but the need is so great.
For now, we can give our youth, especially those supporting loved ones with addictions, a safe place to spend their time, tons of support, and every tool we can give them.