Inmate inspired to find a solution – Penticton Western News

Inmate inspired to find a solution – Penticton Western News

Inmate inspired to find a solution – Penticton Western News

In the June 28 edition of the Penticton Western News letter writer Robyn Smuin (It’s time for IH to clean up its mess) suggested an “incentive program” for addicts and that is exactly what we need.

A monetary reward would be unethical, it would also be impossible to reward the addict without inevitably rewarding the dealer.

I propose we hold the addicts accountable. We are allowed to be careless with our own lives but we are not allowed to disrupt others in the process.

My solution is this: we ask syringe manufacturers to number sequence their syringes. We record the syringe numbers on the harm reduction bags and record them when they are picked up.

Law enforcement then has the tools to hold someone accountable when discarded syringes are becoming a problem. It may be hard to prosecute but drug users will get tired of seeing police. This gives us somewhere to start in dealing with the problem.

Interior Health and harm reduction employees would also know who and who isn’t dealing with their discarded syringes. The addict would also have no loss in privacy if they keep track of their syringes.

As a community, we need to accept responsibility. No one is on the street by choice. To be content living on the street you have to be crazy or high.

When I came to the Okanagan Correctional Institution as an inmate, I am forced to get straight. The waiting list here to see a mental health worker just to talk about rehab is two to three months. Then faxing applications, only a few of them accept addicts like me on methadone, waiting for a bed to open up and then be shipped there is a four to six-month process. Most guys are told, “we are full.”

Most addicts are released back on the street before a rehab has even talked to us. Rehabs openly tell you they give out beds in order of who calls the most. That makes rehab more difficult if you live on the street.

The dealers are winning. It is easier to get high than to go to rehab.

I feel inspired to help fix this fentanyl crisis as I see where a lot of issues lie. First I need to fix me. I need to give my kids their dad back.

I do not want to go back to opioids. I’m still not sure how I got here in the first place. I would go to rehab in a heartbeat.

Gregory Smith


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