Kervin’s Corner: Long-term Rehabilitation Center for Northern Communities Not a Far Cry

“It seems almost every month we’re met with a tragedy that could’ve been prevented”

With the opioid crisis happening across BC, community leaders are scrambling to tackle it head on. Lately, fentanyl has slowly crept into our Island communities. The drug, an opioid often used as an anesthesia, is often mixed with illicit drugs like cocaine. Unsuspecting drug users are at a higher risk of overdosing than ever before. It’s such a dire situation that Vancouver Island Health Authority has continually reported to Mayor and Council about solutions to the issue before it worsens. According to recent statistics, the North Island is second only to the Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in addictions, at least within BC. That’s a really hard truth to accept.

It seems almost every month we’re met with a tragedy that could’ve been prevented. In fact, BC’s Coroner’s Service reports 120 suspected drug users in BC had died from overdoses in just last March — they suspect sudden increases are directly connected to illicit fentanyl.

Adding to that the already dangerous use of opioids like carfentanil for heroin users. BC was hit with double whammy of toxic, deadly drug mixtures. But what can Port Hardy do before it really hits us?

Well, pointing out the obvious — better illicit drug use awareness campaigns may be a good start. Not to mention something like police services combating access of drugs. But these are all too common sense already. What we need, and we need to do it quickly, is a long-term rehabilitation center. There may already be one in Port Hardy, but we need to increase services so that it’s available to more residents.

Of course, this huge project might take years to plan, let alone finish. But there is a sense of urgency, however, especially with so many overdoses — we need to start doing something now. The cost of a rehabilitation center with hospital standards might range anywhere from $5,000,000 to $8,000,000 compared to other rehabilitation centers in similar sized communities. This typically includes construction, cost of the land, utilities, designs, and furnishings.

Pretty affordable if we look at local municipal hall funds, provincial grant funds and federal grants funds. Little money would come out of the pockets of Port Hardy residents for this project.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to start a committee specifically on the opioid crisis either. It would be a locally-led conversation about how we as a community can prevent the crisis here; how we can plan against it before it really starts to affect us. The trick here is to be proactive, not reactive.

We can all do something by contacting local representatives to see what kind of legislation they could propose. In fact, we need stronger laws which restrict opioid prescriptions. Whatever comes of the town’s plans, it is time to move forward. We can’t sit idly by while a tragedy happens in front of us, especially when it’s completely preventable. It’s not just about public policy — these are lives at stake.

Thomas Kervin is a recent political science alumnus from Simon Fraser University. He was born and raised in Port Hardy. He’s also a First Nations person who wants to address issues facing Indigenous communities today.

Just Posted

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Port Hardy Fire Rescue’s third quarterly report of 2018

PHFR had 13 practice nights and 11 other training events this quarter.

Port McNeill mayor and council sworn in to office

Port McNeill’s new mayor and council were officially sworn in to office… Continue reading

Vancouver Island brewery re-brands again after cryptic new logo failed

Victoria-based brewers said goodbye to confusing hexagon logo

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Vancouver Island remembers

Important stories shared as Islanders salute those who made the greatest sacrifice

Feds dropped ball with WWI anniversary tributes: historians

Wrote one historian: ‘Other than the Vimy Ridge celebration … I think they have done a very bad job’

Sides ‘far apart’ in Canada Post talks despite mediation, says union

The lack of a breakthrough means rotating strikes will resume Tuesday

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

Lack of public response threatens B.C. referendum credibility

Of the few who have voted, poll finds most rejected proportional representation

Most Read