Drug users’ suffering is somehow considered less worthy of external concern, even in democratic and relatively civilized nations, says letter writer. (News Bulletin file photo)

Drug users’ suffering is somehow considered less worthy of external concern, even in democratic and relatively civilized nations, says letter writer. (News Bulletin file photo)

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: We must not treat overdose victims as ‘disposable’

Many deal with effects of trauma by self-medicating, says letter writer

To the editor,

Re: More than 5 British Columbians died a day from toxic drug poisoning in March, May 3.

Albeit likely on a subconscious level, human beings can actually be perceived and treated as though they’re disposable and, by extension, their suffering is somehow less worthy of external concern, even in democratic and relatively civilized nations.

I used to be one of those who, while sympathetic, would look down on those who’d ‘allowed’ themselves to become addicted to alcohol and illicit drugs. However, upon learning that serious life trauma is very often behind the addict’s debilitating addiction, I began to understand ball-and-chain self-medicating: The greater the drug-induced euphoria or escape one attains from its use, the more one wants to repeat the experience; and the more intolerable one finds their sober reality, the more pleasurable that escape should be perceived. The lasting mental pain resulting from trauma is very formidable yet invisibly confined to inside one’s head. It is solitarily suffered, unlike an openly visible physical disability or condition, which tends to elicit sympathy/empathy from others. It can make every day a mental ordeal, unless the turmoil is treated with some form of medicating, either prescribed or illicit.

While the cruel devaluation of human beings, though perhaps on a subconscious level, is essentially based on their self-medicating, a somewhat similar inhuman(e) devaluation is also observable in external perceptions/attitudes (typically by the Western world) toward the daily civilian lives lost in protractedly devastating war zones and famine-stricken nations.

No one – including the chronically self-medicating – should ever be considered disposable.

Frank Sterle Jr., White Ro​ck


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Letter to the Editor