“Portraits of loss: One hundred lives, felled by an overdose crisis”  by Andrea Woo and Marcus Gee
This recent Globe and Mail photo essay puts names, faces and families to some of the 20,000 Canadians lost to opioid overdoses in the past five years.

Two local grandmothers, well-respected in our community, responded.

I’m a grandmother. I have never done any kind of drugs, other than a couple of unfortunate run-ins with alcohol over the years. I am so happy that Canada has legalized marijuana and I want all narcotics to be decriminalized, with a safe supply made available to everyone who needs to use them. We can reduce police and judicial costs and reduce health care system costs.

People turn to all kinds of crutches to deal with different issues in their lives.

Prohibition kills. Let’s look at the great success other places (Portugal) have had by treating addictions as the health problems they are. Let’s make sure our young people aren’t playing Russian Roulette if they choose to experiment or self medicate with street drugs.

This is a cause that all parents and grandparents should get behind. We need to speak to our elected reps at all levels of government to encourage them to move toward decriminalization and safe supply. Most of these people are being lost in the prime of their lives. This is a colossal, avoidable heartbreak and waste.

And more importantly, we can keep people alive and help them safely control their addictions and
learn more about what causes addictions and how to prevent the serious societal damage ALL addictions can cause.

Let’s make it legal and keep them alive.

- Leigh Greaves

So important that the Globe has put faces and stories to this tragedy. Such senseless and punitive losses. I sat yesterday morning and looked carefully at each of the pictures and read each story. So many young people and so many people who never stopped reaching out and trying to get off drugs. We have failed so many.

Addiction is not a moral failure, but a health crisis, and each and every person who lost their life because of illegal drugs deserved so much better. I grieve for their families and we are all poorer because of the loss of so many.

- Colleen Purdon

Grandmothers in our community have joined forces for other causes in the past. There are more grandmothers now than ever in our history, as we face the two deadliest health crises in their lifetime.

Thank you to Leigh and Colleen for starting this conversation publicly among their peers.

photo: Screenshot of Globe and Mail February 12, 2021


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