Opinion

Revenge of the comment section: We're sleeping through the fentanyl crisis

CBC commenters are adamant that some sort of action is needed, whether it's through better efforts to crack down dealers, or greater support for victims.

CBC commenters are adamant that the government needs to take immediate action

Some mayors are now calling for a national opioid strategy. (CBC)

The fentanyl epidemic has ravaged B.C. — and the entire country, really — in what advocates are calling a public health crisis. Overdose deaths have skyrocketed from coast to coast over the last few months, with some mayors now calling for a national opioid strategy. CBC commenters are adamant that some sort of action is needed, whether it's through better efforts to crack down dealers, or greater support for victims.

The dealers are the problem

The problem with fentanyl is not the drug users, it's the drug dealers. Fentanyl is flooding the market because it's more profitable for the dealers who don't care that they're killing many of their users. And it's good enough for the users who don't have many other choices.

Stephen Samuel

Why does it exist?

This is awful. I have lost, and may lose more friends because of this. Funny how pharmacies are making drugs that are more potent (fentanyl) than their natural counterpart (opium). What is that drug medically used for, if skin contact may kill a person via overdose? I don't believe that there is conspiracy behind it, but I am curious why this even exists.

Nahla Salvia

Not all bad

The word "fentanyl" is becoming a dirty word. It is my saviour. Since 2001, I've suffered chronic pain. To control this pain, I use a patch with a high dose. Since 2001, I have gradually reduced the dosage to the point where the pain is mostly controlled and I am not screaming. Fentanyl is a good drug, but the problem is that drug users will always find something to feed the addiction. 

Janet Raymond

Legalize all drugs

The way to stop these epidemics is to legalize all drugs. The money we spend on drug wars could be spent on educating young people, making facilities available for those who want help to get off the drugs, as well as affordable housing and living wages so people don't feel so down-and-out and turn to drugs to numb themselves. The criminals will just fade away...I hope.

Lorraine Giles

Stigma must stop

We have a deadly health crisis going on. Treatment, ongoing support and understanding — not incarceration — is desperately needed. The stigma against those addicted must stop. Those addicted are very sick people in desperate need of help. We need all levels of government on board, declaring this the health care emergency it is. Lives are being destroyed, families are devastated and communities' resources are stretched. Let us understand and treat addiction for what it is: a debilitating disease that is tragically killing people every single day.

June Ariano-Jakes

Problems with prohibition

The fentanyl epidemic started with the oxycontin crackdown. Every new prohibition results in a greater public scourge. Addiction is a medical and psychological problem, not a criminal one. Stabilize addicts by giving them a safe source for their addiction and then offer counselling to get to the bottom of the addiction, and get through it. Draconian laws like the ones suggested by other commenters will further exacerbate the problem.

Bryce Holcomb

Punish the manufacturers

Our justice system needs to come up with a new category for the extreme drugs such as fentanyl and meth. Make it an automatic 20-year prison term for anyone caught manufacturing this garbage.

Mike Davis

Not a political priority

The fentanyl crisis has been going on for a while now, but it doesn't seem to be a priority for the provincial and federal governments. They seem to care more about other problems outside Canada rather than the problems affecting Canadians.

Pat McCann

Think outside the box

I can't imagine a more wasteful and ineffective model than having firefighters racing to correct what is effectively a social issue. We need to think outside the box. Five years ago, Portugal had the worst drug problem in Europe, with hundreds of overdose deaths a year. When Portugal decriminalised hard drugs, the criminals all but disappeared and there was a total of 15 overdose deaths last year.

Cameron Beaton

Learning lessons

People talk about spending money on educating people so they don't take bad drugs, but if you see a bottle that says "poison" on it or has a picture of a skull and crossbones, what more do you need? I look both ways before I cross a busy street or highway; I didn't have to go to school to learn that lesson.

Fred Brown

Arrest the criminals

Forget the support programs. Arrest the criminals selling this stuff to people and throw them in jail with a minimum sentence. And if a death occurs from a drug they sold, charge them with manslaughter. This is an illegal drug.

Scott James

Comments have been edited for length and clarity. 

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