People file into the Citizens Want Nanaimo Back public meeting at Nanaimo Entertainment Centre last week. (CHRIS BUSH/News Bulletin)

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Harm reduction, treatment are the only answers

Citizens Want Nanaimo Back meeting didn’t meet objectives, says letter writer

To the editor,

Re: Citizens voice concerns about crime increase, Oct. 3.

The agenda of this gathering was to identify the issues and come up with some solutions. In my view both goals failed.

I am also of the opinion that unless the community comes together from a grassroots perspective, any optimism to somehow work on addressing these issues and eventually to find a partial solution is all but lost.

Warehousing hundreds or thousands of individuals who suffer from opioid use disorder without adequate and constantly encouraged offers of treatment only ends up forcing taxpayers to contribute through our social services – money to organized crime. Property crime will also continue to rise with no accountability for their actions and a frustrated judicial system.

RELATED: Residents, business owners vent frustrations over Nanaimo crime and drug activity

RELATED: Public meeting will explore ideas to battle addiction and crime in Nanaimo

I represent a solution. There are three clinics where I work, each specializing in either harm reduction, blood-borne disease prevention or treatment and opioid substitution therapy. Hundreds of people from all walks of life call this facility and the dedicated staff and trained physicians a safe place where they can get help for their illnesses.

The sad part about it all, is that despite the lives saved through these clinics, that the politicians and bureaucrats do not support the model.

This crisis is not the worst of it. Unless, as a society we come to grips with what really needs to be done, other crises will quickly follow. Millions of young people will soon become addicted. Tens of thousands who have repeatedly overdosed and been revived with naloxone will suffer from shorter lifespans and mental impairment in the future. How will we, as a society look after them?

On the business side, how much of your property needs to be stolen? How many millions of dollars will go into the mammoth of supportive housing over the next several decades? How much of our population will rely on the average working person to contribute for the lack of today’s decision making?

The solution is treatment, and treatment as a condition of committing a crime if one was addicted while doing it. If not, then long-term jail sentencing.

Rick Hyne, Nanaimo

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.

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