MP column

Resident responds to comments made by Colin Mayes about drug use

Regarding the Dec. 10 column by MP Colin Mayes, Drug use a concern.

According to Mr. Mayes, few people are talking about substance use and he is surprised to learn that a number of families in his riding have to deal with raising their grandchildren because their parents are addicted to drugs.

He shares that a nurse told him that 70 per cent of emergency room cases are related to substance use, and he reports that marijuana has been proven to cause schizophrenia.

Mr. Mayes, where have you been through your four terms of office? Everyone has been talking about substance use. How could you not know that?

The many social agencies in your own riding are overwhelmed by it, and constantly communicating with all levels of government to help. It is talked about in the media, it is seen in the back alleys (and everywhere else), it is dealt with daily by police, paramedics, social workers and other professionals. But, luckily, you actually listened to that nurse in emergency so you do know how it affects our hospitals.

And, you had better sit down for this shocker. Many grandparents in your very own riding, Mr. Mayes, are addicted themselves so cannot help their addicted children to look after their grandchildren. Social agencies struggle to help these families, so that their children will at least have some chance at a healthy life, and not be the next damaged generation.

As far as your statement that marijuana use causes schizophrenia, that has not been proven. Yes, many drugs can cause psychosis, but there is a genetic component to schizophrenia as well. There are ongoing studies around this, but there is no conclusive evidence yet to support this theory.

Of course, there is lots of information on the Internet to pull from, if you want to make it political though.

But, as an elected official entrusted with important policy creation and decision-making, is that where you should be getting your information?

How about focusing on facts, so more time is not wasted. Does Canada not have many high-level government and professional agencies that can give you the correct information on all these topics? Maybe look them up before you leave office.

In the meantime, here is a bit of reliable information to help you out.

Since the drug experimentation of the 1960s and 1970s, and since the traumatic incarceration of a whole generation of First Nations into residential schools until the 1990s, we have had serious substance addiction issues in this country. Because trauma, abuse, and a lack of healthy coping skills being passed generationally, are exacerbated by poverty, result in mental health issues, addiction, and hopelessness.

There are First Nations communities in this country, where anyone, grandparents to pre-teens, may be suffering with addiction and where abuse and violence are rampant.

There are currently not nearly enough resources available to social agencies to support these communities, or those individuals in your own community, to address this overwhelming issue.

Yes, the Conservative government has funded drug enforcement. But much of that is a waste as the demand for drugs has not gone away.

Why are so many people needing to be high, and how can we change that? Remember, trauma, abuse, poverty? Think about it. You still have a bit of time left, right?

Brenda DeBoice

Vernon