Recently a close friend of my family lost her beloved son to an accidental drug overdose in my hometown of Kamloops, BC. Every time I hear this it breaks my heart as no mother should lose a child to the disease of addiction.
The statistics for the number of drug overdose deaths in Canada are shocking and continues to climb. According to a recent report entitled “Opioid and Stimulant related Harms in Canada” released by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the COVID-19 outbreak has been worsening the ongoing public health crisis of opioid overdoses and death.
Nearly 90 per cent of all opioid-related deaths during the pandemic period were among those aged 24-49. The vast majority of confirmed opioid-related deaths continue to be accidental in nature.
In Ontario, from January to June 2020, over 1,000 people died from opioid-related causes in Ontario – the equivalent of over 5 people per day.
How can you help you ask? First, we need to reduce the stigma of addiction and treat addiction as a disease. Secondly, addicts need to have access to long-term affordable rehabilitation centres. Many addicts are put back on the street after a 3 or 4 day detox with no support and end up back using drugs.
When I launched Joeriaknits.com at the beginning of 2021, I made a commitment to donate 20% of my gross profits to a drug treatment program in Canada who support addicts in recovery. Why you may ask? Because in November 2015, I discovered that my 27-year-old son was addicted to fentanyl and struggling for his life. Fortunately, he agreed to go into detox at the Salvation Army Harbour Light, located in Vancouver’s East Side (also known as Skid Row). During this time, I scrambled to find financial support and a long term drug treatment plan for him. There was an opening for him on Vancouver Island at Cobble Hill Recovery Centre, so with the support of family and friends, he attended their amazing two-month live-in program for his addiction. Then, he moved to Surrey, BC and lived in a number of different stage recovery homes to help him get his life back on track and surrounded himself in a supportive recovery community. Over the past 6 years he continues to work the 12-steps program and found work he enjoys. Every day I am grateful for his commitment to staying clean and feel blessed to still have him in my life.
Thanks to everyone who has supported my small business in its first year of operation. It's been such a pleasure !
This year, I am donating $550 to the Salvation Army’s Nine Stories of Hope to support their ambitious plan for a new drug treatment facility in Vancouver, BC. https://ninestoriesofhope.org/
There is hope, One Day At A Time!