Dont fear the reaper, thoughts on an abnormally high death rate from drugs and poverty

21 Jan

So i woke up this morning with the aim of writing up the minutes and tasks from last nights meeting, as well as engaging in alot of different tasks related to community organizing. However I made the mistake of going on facebook and seeing an article about a man found dead under the fairway bridge, checking msgs and txts and such their is many people who are saying that it was someone we may know and as always their is speculation rumor etc. who he was and how he died despite the fact that nothing is yet confirmed i felt like a shit tonne of bricks hit me in the stomach and as such became quiet withdrawn and really not feeling like doing anything at all.

This feeling of hopelessness and despair is common among people in my community who are victims of a drug epidemic, poverty related deaths and the violence that comes with this as well as a state that pays lip service to these problems but doesn’t really care how many drop dead from drugs the cold and other such things.In fact judging by the policy’s that they are passing one could guess that this is their goals and aims as these deaths are a logical conclusions of these policys.

I have a couple of smokes and few glasses of coffee thinking to myself this is fucked, that whenever we read about a death in the paper or online our first reaction is is it someone that we know and care about. Is this our ex our cousin or someone we use to chill with. Its really not normal that this feeling and these thoughts affect a sizeable portion of the people we organize and work with, nor is it normal that in Hamilton this summer that just passed 8 people dies of bad heroine in one die. This is a symptom of a society that is sick and treats its most vulnerable as expandable commodities.

When I was working at the Inuvik Youth Centre as a program coordinator one of the first things we learned was not to get emotionally involved and treat everyone we work with as a case. This model of dehumanizing people and treating people as cases may make it easier for people to sleep at night but it also makes it acceptable and normal for people to turn a blind eye to those who die as a result of policy’s that favor one group of people at the expense of another. Eg. the heroine epidemic is not a serious problem because it only affects those who are cases and does not affect me and if I have a loved one who has a problem he has access to the the best rehab detox etc. and the street violence etc that is a result of this does not affect them as they dont have to score from the psychos that have no problem hacking up a young woman and wherever the money goes does not affect. Despite the irrationality of this logic which is flawed in so many ways this model of social work is flawed and in many ways is part of the problem that we are facing, the logic that turns a human being into a case or a bi line in the obits.

Community work what we are trying to do is engaging the community in recognizing the problem and helping actual people by mobilizing the community itself to get involved and recognizing that human life is worth something and that those who have no qualm dispensing human life should be held responsible as well as recognizing that a society where people are constantly in fear for the lives of those who they know and love is not only flawed but sick and must be changed. This change will not come from the politicians whose policy’s facilitate this but rather from the community that sees that that standing back is not an option.


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