It’s been four long months since Health Minister Doug Currie suggested he was going to move aggressively on the problem of youth opiate addiction in P.E.I. (“Currie commits to move aggressively on youth addiction”, the Guardian, May 8, 2013). At the time, he said, “We need to look at a longer-term program for youth and adults struggling with addictions in this province. I clearly see that from talking to (those on) the front lines, from talking to families.”
Finally, our cries were being heard! Unfortunately, this glorious announcement was followed by a summer of silence. During the month of July, it was reported that P.E.I.’s needle exchange use is up 60 per cent, rates of Hepatitis C on P.E.I. have doubled over the last decade, and that our crime rate is up for the second year in a row. It comes as no surprise that drug addiction is behind these startling statistics. The time for action is now.
There are many Islanders, myself included, who are very concerned about what is happening in our province. It is time for our government to take immediate and meaningful action on the issue of addiction, and to bring the public up-to-date on what steps have been taken since the spring.