A senior advisor with the BC Centre on Substance Use says harm reduction is not enough to deal with homelessness and addictions issues in communities like Vernon.
Marshall Smith told city council, discussions around needle distribution are important, but a much bigger dialogue is needed.
“It’s about hope and recovery, and about getting people well, and getting them off drugs, when they are ready to do that. And to have the supports in place to be able to take people and get them indoors.”
Smith says a full system of care is needed.
“Because of the stigma and other concerns, individuals with addictions are often devalued and written off by society and the health care system as being beyond help. This is costly, unethical and wrong.”
Smith is a recovering addict himself, having lived on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside streets for years.
He is co-author of “Strategies to Strengthen Recoveries in BC: The Path Forward.”