Moms Stop the Harm harm-reduction advocacy group sets up a tribute to those who have died of overdose during the International Overdose Awareness Day event Tuesday, Aug. 31, at Maffeo Sutton Park. (News Bulletin file photo)

Moms Stop the Harm harm-reduction advocacy group sets up a tribute to those who have died of overdose during the International Overdose Awareness Day event Tuesday, Aug. 31, at Maffeo Sutton Park. (News Bulletin file photo)

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: It’s not too late for solutions as overdose crisis claims lives

Aunt shares story of overdose death, calls for new measures

To the editor,

This month I attended the funeral of my niece, Nicole. It was a beautiful, but heartbreaking service. You see, Nicole died of a drug overdose, another victim of this ‘opiate crisis.’

Since Nicole was a young girl she had more struggles and challenges than any one person should have had to endure. Life and health were severely unfair to her and yet, when she was well, she had sweetness and goodness and trust.

I sat at her funeral and watched her father and older sister weep while giving Nicole’s eulogy. I watched my sensitive, gentle sister’s shoulders bent under the weight of her grief, her hands shaking as she tried to get through the agony of sitting 10 feet from her youngest daughter’s casket. My heart ached to ease her sorrow, but I couldn’t. I believe her eyes may never light with true joy again in her life.

“There but for the grace of God.”

If circumstances were different this could have been one of my children or grandchildren – or one of yours, or anyone’s. No family is immune from a loved one taking the wrong path or making the wrong decision. It could be the first time, or the 100th, but the result could be the same: life-ending and irreversible.

If the legal, medical and especially the political systems, try as they might (are they really trying?) can’t stop the importers, the producers and the traffickers of these lethal drugs – the very least they could do is slam the criminals with the harshest sentences possible, no revolving doors.

The system could provide safe supply, treatment centres, physical and mental support and counselling opportunities to help the thousands of our young people addicted to these deadly drugs until they have the strength to embrace wellness themselves. It takes a village, and here in B.C., we desperately need this community greater good.

It’s too late for my niece, Nicole, and it’s too late for my dear sister.

But it doesn’t have to be too late for someone else’s child.

Gloria Tweed, Nanaimo

READ ALSO: 184 people died of illicit drug overdoses in July in B.C.’s 2nd deadliest month on record

READ ALSO: Community members grieve those who have died of overdose, call for harm reduction


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Letter to the Editor