OD Awareness Day has an odd ring to it, particularly if you travel in mainly middle-class circles. For street folk, however, it’s a reminder of a constant presence, of the tragic fate that stalks and kills so many around you. In Ottawa, OD’s are responsible for more deaths each year than traffic accidents.
I know that harm reduction measures are controversial in North America. It seems counter-intuitive, and somehow wrong, to make it easier and safer for addicts to get their fix, for alcoholics to get a drink. The results, however, are indisputable. Fewer hospital visits, fewer deaths, less property crime, a reduction in AIDS and Hepatitis. And it brings addicts into the “system” where, in time, there’s a chance they’ll use the resources there to beat the demons and recover.
I don’t recall who said it, but they said it best: “You can’t quit if you’re dead.”