America's narcotics problem has apparently jumped the Northern border into Canada. Archbishop J. Michael Miller of the Vancouver Archdiocese has issued an urgent appeal to Christians everywhere to help assist with Vancouver's exploding drug addiction rate.
"This health emergency is widespread," Miller said in an interview with The Catholic News Agency, "It is cutting across every segment of society, devastating families and communities...It is killing our youth, workers, and elderly. Sadly, even most of those who survive suffer brain damage and from other long-term consequences."
Officials in British Columbia state that there were nearly 1,000 overdose fatalities in the province last year---more than twice the number of homicides and traffic fatalities combined. As in the US, these are primarily opiate-related overdoses. Provincial officials cite Fentanyl---a narcotic pushed by Big Pharma as a legal prescription drug---as the main killer. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid with effects similar to Morphine, but at an estimated 50-100 times the potency.
Bishop Miller stated that 42 overdoses were treated at St. Paul's Hospital between Christmas and New Year's Day alone. He stated too that "The toll is especially brutal on our first responders who find themselves mentally and physically exhausted in this exceptionally difficult job."
This section of North America seems especially prone to this problem. Seattle, the largest city next to Vancouver, has the highest drug-addiction rate in the US. Portland, the next largest city, ranks fourth.
The Bishop believes that there are three main factors contributing to the epidemic: over-prescription of dope, social isolation, and mental illness. We should add to the list---at least from the US side---an unwillingness to acknowledge or to address the problem.
Over-prescription is probably the main cause. The dope-peddlers running Big Pharma know exactly what these narcotics are doing; yet they hook people intentionally via the friendly doctor or the school nurse. Under socialized medicine, they charge the American and Canadian Governments maximum prices as addicts return for prescriptions. This is not hyperbole: the US Center for Disease Control even admits that 1/3 of American opioid junkies are hooked on pharmaceuticals obtained by prescription.
The other two points the Bishop makes are problems as well. Most Americans are probably aware that Seattle and Portland are notoriously socially isolated cities. The term Seattle Freeze is even in the urban dictionary depicting the coldness and lack of sociability among that city's residents. Portland is not far behind. Part of the reason for the extreme levels of social isolation in this region is because of the stifling Political Correctness that permeates the entire cultural atmosphere.
Mental illness is another problem---though really related to over-prescription. These supposedly 'progressive' cities allow the mentally ill to roam the streets at will and do little or nothing to help them. A scandal that broke in Portland last Winter saw seven mentally ill people die of exposure on the streets---while the City Elites were busy rioting against a fair election.
Miller recommended that Christians advocate for stronger regulations of opioids, and put more Church effort into education and treatment. He suggested the innovative idea of creating a support network for first responders and hospital workers.
As an interesting side note, China's Ministry of Health this week banned Fentanyl-based opiates as a public health menace. Will North American governments follow suit?