Every town/city should have a village. This village should be a new concept in future design and forward thinking. I am referring to the undeniable facts that show all and every effort to deal with B.C.’s drug addiction and its devastating effects are not working. This sad and worsening issue has to stop being bandied around by governments who pretend to care, from municipal to provincial to federal governments . . . they need to all get on the same page.
We need to create a village, a village would be a new or present facility, a village where an addict would be housed and cared for. The “villagers” would enter the village and work their way through the system, using their time and extreme effort along with all the best medical help to the exit door. But the journey would not be easy; it would take an enormous effort to reach the door back to freedom. It would take encouragement from family and friends, and eventually they would need a positive medical assessment that shows they are ready and able to rejoin society.
The cost to society would be enormous, but compared to the failing and worsening system that we have now, and one that is absolutely hemorrhaging all kinds of money, and one that is not working at any measured level, it would be worth it.
We need to set an example in stopping doing what isn’t working. We need to be forward thinkers here in this province.
An addict is not a homeless person; an addict is not a mentally challenged person, an addict is someone who has a bastard of a sidekick that won’t be denied, and it comes in many disguises, powders, potions, pills and many other forms. But unfortunately, a homeless person and/or a mentally challenged person will, through our misguided system, fall prey to this devil and quite possibly become an addict, too, and hence in our society they would be all labelled with the same tag and all be loaded into the same boat without a rudder.
We have too many rich and comfortable people who are immune to the crippling lifestyles that the lower echelons of society have to endure. We have a system that is not working, a system that needs a huge change in thinking. We need villages, not leper colonies. We need to take and make some absolutely awfully tough decisions. We need to act. Ask any parent who has lost a kid or a loved one to this present system. Would they rather have their child in a local village where they can visit and encourage them, or on skid row wondering if they will make it through another night?
Things must change. We should realize that we are all turning a blind eye to something we wish would go away. How does the song go? “Dance me to the end of love.”
I think the burning violin must surely be heard at times as one after another victim on skid row succumbs to the devil on hand.
Ask any first responder… “Are you winning?” And try to keep a straight face.
Don Smithyman, Oliver