Westward Independent

Safe-supply drugs are being widely diverted?

by Joseph Enslow
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In Search of Evidence or a Convenient Oversight? The Curious Case of BC’s Safer Supply Program

In the picturesque but troubled landscapes of British Columbia, the safer supply program was launched with the noble intention of stemming the tide of the opioid crisis. Yet, recent assertions by the RCMP and the Solicitor General, claiming an absence of evidence for widespread diversion, have sparked more than just a bit of controversy. According to BC United’s Elenore Sturko, the lack of evidence might just be because, well, no one specifically asked the RCMP to look for it. It’s almost as if someone said, “You won’t find any dragons in the basement if you never go downstairs,” and indeed, the RCMP stayed upstairs.

During the Legislative Assembly on March 12, 2024, Elenore Sturko’s poignant observation sheds light on a rather fundamental flaw in the investigation—or the lack thereof—into the safer supply program’s diversion. “Of course, there wasn’t evidence of widespread diversion collected by the RCMP because they were not asked to collect this information,” she noted, highlighting a gap so wide you could drive a truck filled with, say, diverted pharmaceuticals through it. The statement begs the question: can we truly claim there’s no problem if we’re not looking for one?

On one hand, we have the official stance, polished and presented with the confidence of a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat—a hat, mind you, that everyone had been watching closely. The RCMP and the Solicitor General stand firm in their belief that there’s no substantial evidence pointing towards a diversion of drugs from the safer supply program into the black market. A remarkable feat, considering the potential oversight in not actively searching for such evidence.

On the other hand, we have the reality on the streets of Cowichan, where the diversion of safer supply drugs isn’t just a theory; it’s Tuesday. And Wednesday. And every day, for that matter. The local narrative starkly contrasts the official reports, painting a picture of a community where the impact of diversion is as visible as the disdain for the oversight.

Amidst this debate, the stark rise in overdose ambulance calls in communities like Duncan, soaring from 162 in 2016 to an eye-watering 819 by 2023, whispers a tale of an ongoing crisis. This dramatic increase raises eyebrows, suggesting that perhaps, just perhaps, the issue of diversion isn’t as non-existent as some reports would have us believe.

The discrepancy between the official reports and the lived experiences of those in Cowichan underscores a crucial point: acknowledging a problem is the first step towards solving it. While the RCMP and the Solicitor General assure the public of the program’s integrity, the evidence—or the conspicuous lack thereof—coupled with Sturko’s sharp critique, points towards a potentially deliberate oversight.

In the end, if we’re only finding what we’re looking for, perhaps it’s time to start looking a little harder. Or, at the very least, to start looking in the right places. After all, in the search for truth, it’s not just about asking the right questions but also about having the courage to hear the answers—even if they lead us downstairs, where the dragons of diversion might just be lurking.

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