Kassandra Watson, Ottawa
Canadians are beginning to be made aware of the growing dangers of fentanyl in drug use. In Ottawa, the first wave of panic hit when kids as young as twelve years old were dying. These kids, were buying drugs laced with fentanyl. The kids were not made aware of this or purchased prescription drugs with this substance in it. This product is not safe for consumption but is becoming increasingly more prevalent in drugs found on the streets. There have been cases in Toronto with recreational drug users taking drugs such as cocaine or heroin only to die as they were unaware of the fentanyl in their drugs.
There is no other way to detect fentanyl other than to have chemists test a substance to know if a drug may be laced with fentanyl. Two grains of fentanyl is enough to kill an adult human and due to the staggering amount suspected of being made overseas right now, Canada could be in trouble. Canada is in very real trouble as a result. In British Columbia, there are treatment centers currently testing any street drug for users and a staggering result of 90% are coming back laced with this chemical.
It has forced Canadians to take a new approach to this problem. After urging Federal and Provincial MPs, the push to have naloxone on hand has become, it would seem, mandatory. This is the only way in which to combat these deadly overdoses. With a new victim in Toronto overdosing during the first week of April, there is a growing need to have this issue made easy to access by Canadians.
The threat is very real. Canadian recreational and long term drug users are all at risk. There is no clear cut solution. In 2016, British Columbia had a staggering 996 deaths, not accounting for the rest of Canada. The fact that thousands of people are now losing their lives has seen the Federal Government funding millions into the programs for testing and prevention methods for the first responders.
But where did this come from? The obvious answer to most would be manufacturing overseas, however, Canada has a history of opioids. The first and most prevalent is the invention of the pain medication commonly known as oxycontin. This dependence which has been fueling Canada’s need for opioids. This was patented in Canada, in Ontario to be specific.
This was the birth of Canada’s opium dependence with staggering numbers of people becoming addicted in the past which later had the government regulating the substance. However now, in 2017, it has reached a crisis as numbers are projected to be the highest ever seen in Canada. With fentanyl, we may be on the cusp of the biggest epidemic in drug use in a long time.
The question then becomes whether or not there was a way to combat this when most people when they see a drug user on the streets of their city they say that it is the person's own fault. The question should then become how to raise this individual from the place they are where they need to be dependent on a drug, and how to move them into being a productive member of society. That is the question we should be asking and how we can fix it. The fentanyl problem will bring Canada’s drug dependency to the forefront of Canadian minds.
The principal of each secondary school and the vice-principals of the alternate program sites are asked to select one graduating student whose “demonstration of personal initiative to achieve a positive outcome” in their school is considered worthy of recognition by the Director and Chair of the Board for the 2016-2017 Student Recognition Award. Please note that students are not required to make an acceptance speech.
The principal of A.H.S, Kevin Bush, had the following to say of this year’s winner:
“Elijah is a young man who epitomizes a selfless investment into bettering the lives of others. As a student, Elijah is a school leader who seeks to empower all those around him to realize both their academic and human potentialities. To say that his growth mindset is contagious would be an understatement; it is rampant. As a community trailblazer, Elijah has organized the distribution of Christmas dinners and children’s gifts to over 240 Adult High School families. As a Newcomers’ Club ambassador, Elijah has worked tirelessly to make others feel welcome, proud and connected. His own personal journey has led him from Africa to Canada’s capital where he embodies a work ethic that is admired by his children, peers and colleagues alike. As an articulate man who tackled the nuances of his new language as an English Language Learner, Elijah’s sincerity shines through both his speech and his charisma.
As a graduate, what better attributes should one possess more than those of generosity and gratitude? Elijah has transitioned from being a role model to exemplifying our fundamental need to continually enhance our connection with others.”
By: Kassandra Watson, Ottawa
The gay community has made steps in the right direction for years now but there is a lot more that needs to be done in order to continue moving forward. Most people do not realize the adverse effect they can have on someone’s mental stability when attacking any member of the community. It may not be their intention but a lot of the LGBTQ community have pasts that were hard for them and this can trigger memories.
The time is not gone the times when a family will disown their children for being part of the LGBTQ. It even happens in Ottawa. In 2015, Canada saw the banning of conversion camps. These camps were run by primarily churches and sought to “remove the gay from a kid” through several controversial means. There are things that happen behind the scene which would shock most people.
The fact people threaten and or physically attack members of the LGBTQ is not shocking. People are hardwired to hate or fear what they don’t know. It is what people have been doing since the dawn of time. The fact that no member of the LGBTQ is asking for people to throw away their values or cultures. They just want equality. They want to feel safe to be who they are in their own skins. They want to feel safe in the general public and not have to worry about being a statistic of an attack as they so readily are.
A good deal of LGBTQ members will not file a police report if they are harassed or attacked. The reason is quite simple; fear. For a long time, the Canadian legal system was pitted against members of the LGBTQ. It is this fear of speaking out that has been both a survival mechanism and a hindrance to any real progress to eliminate this from public view. There is also a stronger chance of someone who is part of the LGBTQ to be attacked and their disappearance given less priority by the police, unless a case where it is impossible to argue that it is a missing person case or that there is a strong possibility of a serial killer.
Imagine for a minute that a young lady of approximately nineteen or twenty is being bothered as she steps out of bar that is known to be a place which serves the LGBTQ community here in Ottawa. It is not certain that she is part of the LGBTQ community and may have been there for a friend. However she is confronted with two much older men with signs, both of which are highly offensive. They see the young lady and begin to hoot and holler profanities at her about her sexual preference. This happens in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, all too frequently. But the young lady will not report the harassment even if they follow her to a bus stop. Even if they get in her way or surround her.
It is highly probable that she will not say a word until she gets home and then she will let it out to someone. As a society, Canadians have failed this young lady. Perhaps she argued or went to the police and upon hearing the two men the officer decides to arrest the young lady for some unrelated minor charge such as intoxication and will hold her overnight. She will never again go to the police with this information but may be subject to it several times throughout her lifetime or it might escalate to violence. The thought of this happening to someone who is straight would demand a response, but as she is not straight, no outcry will occur. It is not the young lady’s intention to make these men uncomfortable nor is she looking for a fight, yet that is the end result.
If that is the case, then how can Canada say it has stepped forward? How can it say that opinions are changing if this still occurs 10 years after the legalization of gay marriages? Canada is not the land of wonder some seem to think it is.