Today was International Overdose Awareness Day, with an array of speakers and organizations in Abbotsford.

Probably the best I got out of the day is this video called, ‘The Rat Park’, which makes a lot of sense.  You’ll notice in this cartoon video that drugs turn living things into skeletons.  There is no suggestion here that the remedy to drug addiction is to provide easier access.  Drugs are depicted as POISON.

There were some other small highlights in the forum, but overall it seems to me the problems of messed up lives, ruined by poisonous substances, is on the rise, and a lot of the speakers offered more hot air than wisdom.

The one sure cure to our brokenness is found in God who created us all.  But He,  who alone can heal our sinful condition, Who is the best solution to our brokenness, is the One most suppressed by the organizations us set up to fix societal woes.  And so humanity sinks  deeper into despair, disease and purposeless lives.

On the bright side, …all these broken humans do create a lot of pretty good jobs,  whole government departments and an ever expanding ‘Misery Industry’.

Abbotsford is dotted with homeless sites.  Some of the people camping out are healthy and just can’t find affordable housing, but most are not healthy in mind or body.  Not all drug addicts are homeless, but many end up in prisons and other institutions because they’ve lost the ability to hold down jobs, keep healthy relationships or even maintain their own health.  So they descend into cycles of crime to feed the demon drug craving.

For some twelve years I was blessed to be able to take women in our local Federal prison  out on passes.  As you would expect, those women hated being incarcerated, but many of them said it was the only way they could have got away from the negative influences that got them enslaved to habits that were destroying their minds and bodies.

I took women to visit their families, or to jobs, or  to College courses.  FVI has some amazing caring staff, who want the women to leave the institution with new skills and new strength to live successful lives.

Most of that time I took women to groups like AA, NA, GA and various other helping groups of that nature.  For the last three of those years, the women and I shared tremendous times of happiness as I taught them guitar and the joy of singing, sometimes at the top of our lungs.  Music is its own form of freedom.

The groups like AA and NA are really impressive.  I marvelled at the stories I heard there and often thought that if I had walked in their shoes I would have been broken beyond repair.  The resilience of the human spirit is found there in those groups.  But the foundational teaching there is ABSTINENCE, with generous doses of helpers to come alongside each other.

To bring more drugs, and easier access in places like INSITE, is a formula for disaster.  Help people in every way possible, but do not feed them more of the poison that keeps them enslaved and helpless to find freedom.

The ultimate answer to our brokenness is Jesus Christ, the Saviour of lost humanity.  God has not changed, and He has not forsaken us either.   Jesus still stands at the door of our hearts and knocks, waiting for us to open the door to Him, the healer of our souls.

“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  …..”Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction,”

We are all spiritual beings.  There is no such thing as a spiritual void.  Someone, or something will fill that void.  Until we leave our earthly home, we’ll all stumble and fall.  There isn’t a perfect human being, and never was until Jesus left the glory of Heaven to come to earth to redeem lost humanity.   It was nice to converse with one man, who works with a government agency at this event, who agreed that living our lives in the light of God is the only way out of our spiritual darkness.

Today, a lot of media was devoted to the problem of overdose deaths.  At Insite, the “safe” injection site, 86% of the drugs tested have fentanyl in them.

So . . . illegal drugs bought from criminals (with stolen money?) are not actually “safe,” are they — no matter where you inject them!

By the way, cocaine and crystal meth and heroin are unsafe too! (That would be why they were made . . . illegal.)

But the “medical health” officer from Vancouver Coastal Health says: This finding means we should have MORE “safe” injection sites!!!!!!

A new study reveals what many in the Vancouver drug treatment community have long suspected: fentanyl is in the vast majority of drugs now on the streets.

Eighty-six per cent of drugs tested at Insite over a four-week period this summer contained fentanyl, says Vancouver Coastal Health.

“This confirmed our suspicions that street drugs in Vancouver are overwhelmingly contaminated with fentanyl,” said Dr. Mark Lysyshyn, medical health officer with Vancouver Coastal Health.

“This is in line with what we were suspecting.”

Free drug testing is being offered at Insite this summer for the first time as part of a pilot project, and the data comes from 173 checks performed from July 7 to Aug. 3.

When the drug being checked was heroin or mixtures containing heroin, over 90 per cent tested positive for fentanyl. The figures were lower for tests on cocaine, crystal meth and other drugs. 

Lysyshyn said the data shows the need for drug users to assume the worst when it comes to the drugs they’re using, and plan accordingly.

“It helps them understand what their personal risk of exposure is and helps them make decisions, whether they should take home a Naloxone kit, whether they should inject at Insite, whether they should always have a sober buddy with them,” he said.

The number of deaths involving fentanyl in British Columbia has exploded this year, in spite of the government declaring a public health emergency in April.

There were 371 illegal drug overdose deaths in B.C. in the first six months of 2016with approximately 60 per cent of them involving fentanyl.

Lysyshyn also cautioned that the figure is likely higher than the number for all of Metro Vancouver.

“People who check their drugs at Insite are most likely to check drugs they suspect might have fentanyl in them,” he said.

However, he believes it shows the degree to which fentanyl has infiltrated the supply of drugs in B.C. — and that the rest of the province needs safe injection sites like Insite.

“This is a provincial public health emergency, and all of the public health authorities are facing this crisis relating to overdoses.

“I think part of the provincial plan for this is to expand supervised injection services to all health authorities.”