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The children killed by fentanyl A drug epidemic is devastating Canada

‘You don’t get to make mistakes with fentanyl.’ Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

‘You don’t get to make mistakes with fentanyl.’ Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images


March 13, 2024   11 mins

“I never thought this would happen to Reese, but you have to get it through to people that it can happen to anyone.” Grief and sadness envelops Wendy Chisholm as we talk in her snow-dusted suburban house in the hills above Vancouver. She is telling me about her “lovely, easy-going, thoughtful” teenage daughter, whose face beams out from a photo on the fridge in the kitchen. She takes me upstairs to show me the sports-mad girl’s room. It is filled with trophies, pictures of Reese in her soccer kit and with a black belt from taekwondo, her name picked out in yellow thread.

Reese died from a toxic drug overdose nearly two years ago. She was just 15 when her father went to wake her one summer morning and found her dead in bed. “Many days, I still don’t believe this has happened,” says Wendy, too devastated to return to her job with a car finance firm. “I feel like I’m sleepwalking through life. There are no words to adequately describe this. I just feel this deep sense of loss: my daughter has gone. She deserved so much better. I miss her every day, every moment.”

Wendy Chisholm and her daughter, Reese.

A talented athlete — she earned the prized black belt aged 11 — Reese started struggling when she became a teenager. This coincided with Covid, which cancelled all sport and social activities just as she was transitioning from her cosy middle school to a much bigger high school. She did not adapt well to online classes, felt lonely, then began hanging around outdoors with some new friends and smoking weed in a nearby park. One day she fell sick — and when Wendy took her to the doctor, her daughter confided to her mother that she had been taking “Dillies”, an opioid painkiller more potent than heroin.

By the time of her death, Reese had already gone through the cruel cycle of experimentation, addiction, treatment and then relapse. “She was the last child you would expect to pass in this way,” says Wendy. “She lived in a good community, had a stable family, went to a good school, excelled at sport.” Yet Reese’s story is far from unique in this prosperous corner of Canada. Here, health authorities have revealed an astonishing fact: fatal overdoses from illicit drugs are now the leading cause of death for young people aged 10-18 in British Columbia, overtaking motoring accidents and suicide. And the vast majority of the fatalities here involve fentanyl, a highly-potent opioid that is often cut into other drugs by dealers.

There are many reasons why people use such illicit substances — from blotting out trauma through to boredom, experimentation and peer pressure. But, as Wendy says so poignantly, “You don’t get to make mistakes with fentanyl.”

I first saw how fentanyl carved through societies when reporting from Dayton, Ohio in 2017. A police officer told me he had never seen an overdose victim before the start of that decade, yet in our four hours together we witnessed a dozen such incidents on his patch. At the end of our patrol we found a pair of middle-aged users slumped like corpses in their car outside a dealer’s house, the impact of fentanyl so instant that one syringe lay between the woman’s legs and another on the dashboard. She was brought back to life; her partner was less lucky.

Fentanyl, long used by doctors as a legal painkiller, is liked by dealers since it is many times more potent than morphine so they can smuggle in small quantities yet drive up profits per kilo tenfold. Counterfeit pills are made by the Mexican cartels with chemicals imported from Wuhan in China. It gives a powerful hit, so some users actively seek it out, while laced into other drugs from cocaine to crystal meth it delivers more kick and can foster addiction. But the fluctuations in purity make it potentially deadly. When I asked one former user what it is like to overdose on fentanyl, he said he had no idea since it happens so fast — then you either wake up or die. The risks are so unpredictable that in one US case, two teenage girls at a party split what they thought to be a prescription opioid pill; one died, the other survived.

“You don’t get to make mistakes with fentanyl.”

Meanwhile, the Taliban’s clampdown on heroin production in Afghanistan has meant similar synthetic drugs are arriving in Europe such as nitazenes, which can be many times stronger than fentanyl. “It’s terrifying since it feels like we are looking down the barrel of the catastrophe seen in the US and Canada but no one is doing anything about it,” said Steve Rolles, senior policy analyst at the UK-based Transform Drug Policy Foundation.

In the US, where drug fatalities keep on rising grimly, fentanyl has driven the surge in accidental overdoses, despite falling illicit drug use by middle- and high-school students. An average of 22 adolescents aged between 14 and 18 died each week in 2022 as street drugs become deadlier, the third largest cause of paediatric deaths after firearm-related injuries and motoring accidents. But over the border, in Western Canada, it is now the leading cause of death for all ages — from children aged 10 right up to adults of 60, according to federal health officials.

Across the country, 5% of all overdose hospitalisations are children and teenagers. In Vancouver, the epicentre of this crisis, the toll of frighteningly young fentanyl deaths includes Logan Williams, a 16-year-old actor who starred in several television shows. “It was not an overdose but a poisoning,” said his mother Marlyse, 52, sales manager for a dental products firm.

She scrolls through pictures and videos of her son as she tells me about his short life, often wiping away tears. The images of Logan are heart-breaking: smiling at the camera as a young child; filming on the set of The Flash television series; laughing happily as he leaps off a boat into water while on a holiday in Switzerland. “There are no words to describe the emptiness in my heart. Nothing makes it feel better. Nothing.”

Logan Williams

Later she drives me to the city’s Downtown Eastside, lined with dozens of citizens who live, use drugs and often die on the streets. “Look at them — it’s so sad,” she says as we drive past the disturbing scenes of misery. “Each one of them is someone’s child, living like this.” She points at one man, spread-eagled on the pavement in pouring rain with an orange towel draped over his head. “Look — you can’t even tell if he is dead or alive.” Then, she adds quietly: “This could have been Logan’s fate, spending years like this… I will never know since he didn’t get the chance to grow up.”

Marlyse calls herself a conservative, accuses China of deliberately targeting North America with fentanyl and wants harsher laws for people selling toxic drugs, such as the dealer who not only killed her son but also five other people under the age of 20. “This is drug-induced homicide in my opinion since drug dealers are no longer dealing drugs, they are dealing death,” she said, adding that almost nine in 10 street drugs sold in Vancouver contain fentanyl. One couple she knows through a grief group she helps run lost their 13-year-old son, who took what he thought was a Xanax pill. “In the morning when they went to wake him up for school, he was dead in his bed.”

Yet, as Marlyse says, these are urgent health issues confronting the nation’s youth. She is open to ideas such as vending machines offering test strips and clean drugs, comparing their society’s hesitant response to the drug epidemic with how officials and politicians reacted so fast and firmly to Covid. “The death toll keeps on rising and I don’t have all the answers on how to fix it or even know if it is fixable. I can only tell you that addiction can hit any family: rich, poor, black, white, two-parent households, single parent… it doesn’t matter. Fentanyl is a game changer. It can be one pill, one time and the result is death. Our youth must be the number-one priority in this pandemic with a multi-faceted approach from education and fighting the stigma through to science-based, long-term treatment.”

Logan died while waiting to get into treatment, compounding the tragedy. Above all, like every bereaved parent to whom I spoke, she wants to end the stigma around drug use that drives people to hide problems. “I know of grandparents who come to our grief group and they’ve never told anyone else how their grandkids died since they’re so ashamed,” she said.

Debra Bailey lost her 21-year-old daughter, Ola, two days before Christmas. She had hidden her heroin addiction from family and friends. Debra is a leading member of Moms Stop The Harm, a group of families pushing for an end to the failed war on drugs with evidence-based reform, prevention and treatment policies. She argues that the state should provide safe drugs. “The only way to save lives is to replace the fentanyl with a safer supply for people with substance abuse issues, then maybe they can get a handle on their problems. We can’t stop the fentanyl and the cartels are not going to make it safe.”

“Drug dealers are no longer dealing drugs, they are dealing death.”

This corner of Canada is already pushing such harm-reduction policies. Possession of small quantities of drugs for personal use was decriminalised last year following the introduction of safe consumption rooms and drug-testing facilities — in stark contrast with Britain, which accounts for almost one-third of overdose deaths in Europe yet remains hooked on prohibition. Many of the Canadian advances have followed court rulings, such as the recent verdict in a case taken by nurses that banning the use of illicit drugs in public places infringed on the constitutional rights of users.

Now, the debate is over state supply of safe drugs after two members of the Drug User Liberation Front were arrested for running a “compassion club” that offered “rigorously tested cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine, at cost, to users”. But there is pushback on the Right with Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, ahead in the polls before next year’s federal election, arguing safe supply of opioids leads to addictive drugs trickling into the community, fuelling problems rather than treatment and recovery. Police also claim that some opiate pills obtained through harm-reduction programmes have been sold on by criminal gangs.

Backers of the “compassion club” counter that, during the 13 months of its operation, there were no overdoses among 43 participants, who were able to stabilise their lives. But even the most radical drug campaigners accept the need for controls on use by children, as shown with legalisation of cannabis in 2018 designed to restrict access for young people. A recent health study of British Columbia adolescents, however, found an increase in younger children using drugs at 12 — the same age as Logan Williams when he started smoking cannabis. “We are failing this generation of kids and we are not brave enough to change what we are doing,” says Emily Jenkins, a nursing professor and expert on mental health and substance use at the University of British Columbia.

Jenkins argues there is insufficient evidence-based guidance for schools, so many still preach abstinence instead of harm-reduction advice. She adds, though, that deaths are concentrated among children with difficult life circumstances, many of whom have been through the child welfare system. “There is some experimentation and some are doing drugs for fun. But in Canada we rank in the bottom third of industrialised nations for child poverty with nearly one in five kids not having access to basic necessities of life. When paired with wider social problems such as family breakdowns, housing problems and racism, you can imagine some feel a deep sense of hopelessness.”

The crisis ranges widely across the community. As I leave the professor’s office, she introduces me to her research manager, who tells me that her twin 19-year-old daughters had three friends who died from drug overdoses. “The youngest was 15. One had come here alone at 14 from China. It is terrifying,” she said.

But why are such significant numbers of children using powerful drugs at these young ages? The anthropologist Danya Fast has spent 15 years talking to young Vancouvans about it. She has followed about 20 youngsters closely and half of them have died from overdoses. “I’ve heard so many times they started using at 11, 12, 13,” she said. “These are our most vulnerable kids, experiencing instability and tensions many of us will never experience in our lives. But they are also still kids.”

Fast, an assistant professor at UBC’s department of medicine, has just published The Best Place: Addiction, Intervention, and Living and Dying Young in Vancouver. She says self-medication is part of the story of their substance abuse — but it is not just about blocking out trauma. For many, it is also a search for fun and meaning in life. “It fills the time, alleviates their boredom, opens up possibilities when there aren’t a lot around for them. Boredom for these young people is almost painful, a deeply confusing state of mind. But drugs are the one thing they can have, for a few moments at least.”

She believes society should do everything possible to keep these children alive. “There needs to be room for more youth self-determination on drugs — and that’s scary,” she says. “But do we really want to hold on to the idea that young people don’t use drugs and abstinence is the only way forward when it is so clearly failing? We need to give them places to go for fun and meaning but also for non-judgemental help, where they can talk openly about drug use if they want. Then they might live to make that decision to try treatment. Eventually they might be ready to detox, to slow down. But if we just offer abstinence and treatment, they think older people don’t listen to them and disengage. Then they can end up using fentanyl in a basement somewhere in the most risky situations.”

Guy Felicella proves addicts can escape even the most crushing circumstances. He grew up in a comfortable middle-class household with a father who ran hair salons and owned race horses — but behind the front door there was alcoholism, domestic violence and a lack of love, fuelling feelings of isolation, resentment and sadness. He played around at school, was written off as a “dumb” kid, then ran away aged 12 and began using cannabis and LSD. “I felt like ending my life but then I found something wonderful — I found drugs and they gave me the ability to numb myself and to forget,” he says. “When you live in an unpredictable house, it gives you something predictable since I knew what would happen if I took drugs.”

This was the start of two dark decades of addiction, homelessness and prison, with 55 convictions related to drug use. “It was physically, medically and mentally draining. You sleep rough, you live rough, the health consequences are terrible. You are always on alert — from other users, from the police — trying to protect yourself while the public look at you like you are discarded rubbish, incorrigible, a loser criminal scumbag.”

Guy didn’t overdose until 2012, after fentanyl arrived on the scene. Then it happened six times until, in February 2013, he woke up to a nurse telling him that she loved him as a fellow human being. “I burst into tears because I knew that I was going to die if I did not manage to stop. I’d tried more than 50 times. But this time I managed to get off drugs — although I didn’t feel better until I had loads of therapy to understand the issues in my head.”

Now he is happily married with three children and speaks to schools about his experiences, arguing that drug users are not inherently bad people. “Just Say No has never worked — you must have proper education. But I don’t tell kids how to run their lives. They’d laugh at me if I did. All I can do is tell them the story of my life and say that if you do fall down the hole, there is hope because you can make a comeback at any age when you accept reality.”

Guy is a reminder that most people addicted to drugs do stop using them. He argues passionately that, however unpalatable the idea might sound, the crisis will intensify and fatalities keep mounting unless we regulate supply of drugs. “It will still not be safe to take them but at least users will know exactly what they are consuming,” he says, adding that in his view this issue exposes wider societal problems. “We live in a world that creates addiction: they want you to gamble, they want you to use technology, they want you to buy processed food. Our society is all about getting people hooked on things — but then we blame them when they use drugs and end up losing their lives.”

As Wendy Chisholm tells me, engulfed in her terrible grief, the best answer to this problem would be to stop the flow of toxic drugs, but history has proved this to be impossible. “I think this issue is like a freight train that no one really knows how to stop,” she says. Then she drives off to briefly spend time with her daughter. “I visit her grave every day — sometimes for 10 minutes, sometimes for an hour, maybe to rearrange the flowers or just to talk to her,” she says, wistfully. “It’s the only way I can care for my daughter nowadays.”


Ian Birrell is an award-winning foreign reporter and columnist. He is also the founder, with Damon Albarn, of Africa Express.

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Mark HumanMode
Mark HumanMode
2 months ago

Thank you Ian for this deeply researched and moving piece. The distorting impact of covid on Reese makes you realise how the response of our society to challenges is terribly disproportionate and confused. The deepest and most necessary problem to solve is why our society is generating such lack of purpose, and maybe an illusion of safety, that hard drugs are attractive.

Aidan Twomey
Aidan Twomey
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark HumanMode

I agree with you, and I think the poor grieving mother’s faith in “science based” solutions isn’t going to address that problem.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
2 months ago

I suppose this is China’s equivalent of the 19th century British Empire importing opium to China from India.

If they start regulating and supplying, then Canada will just be doing the job on themselves.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 months ago

Summary execution for dealers?

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
2 months ago

Well, at the least, if a dealer sells the drugs which kill a user, they should held responsible for culpable homicide.

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

It’s still not going to stop people taking the drugs.

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

It will if they can’t buy them, and don’t see them all around them.

Steve Farrell
Steve Farrell
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

Prohibition has never, ever worked

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Farrell

Correct, just look to the USA and its alcohol prohibition of the 1920’s-30’s. That was a “howling’ success wasn’t it!

However some people NEVER learn and repetition is the order of the day.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 months ago

Alcohol has been part western culture ever since ale was brewed, taking opium and other narcotics has not. There were opium dens amongst the Chinese on London during the 19th century but it never spread. Britons had been in the Middle East since 1600 but cannabis only spread in the UK in the mid 1960s, why?
When children started work at fourteen years of age,any money went to the family. Is the fact that children have money and do not work in dangerous jobs mean they can experiment with drugs ?One can turn up to work in a shop be under the influence and cope whereas one cannot undertake hard manual work.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Farrell

“There is no solution; seek it lovingly.” — Socrates. 
Not a new problem, then.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Farrell

Depends what you prohibit.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

Summary execution of users would empty things out on the demand side.

Once there’s no demand, there’s no dealers & ergo no supply.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

We’ll need a bigger gallows.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
2 months ago

Why ? Are users that fat ?
More seriously, I think if the Chinese case was anything to go by, you only have to hang 10 or 20 users and stick it in the newspapers, before everyone else in the country magically decides they can do without.

You don’t then end up with the long war with the suppliers . . . the market they’d ordinarily kill to be able to access, has evaporated.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Singapore’s record over this is OUTSTANDING!

Skink
Skink
2 months ago

Yes, you can temporarily deal with it by turning your society brutal, but what are the other side effects of that? That’s what Mao did with opium. And guess what — as soon as you stop the gov’t abuse and fear, opium is back.(And meanwhile, Mao used opium sales to finance his army.)

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  Skink

Mao used opium sales to finance his army“. Surely not! Next you’ll be telling me the Taliban make money from opium harvests!

Skink
Skink
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

Haha.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 months ago
Reply to  Skink

Opium has been part culture in the far east for thousands of years, that is part of the problem. Tiger Balm for sprains used to contain opium.

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

….and Coca Cola used to contain cocaine.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

True but taking cocaine was never widespread, taking opium in the east has been for thousands of years.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago

I don’t know what the solution is, but British Columbia is not the place to start looking for answers. The safe supply and harm reduction programs have been a disaster – creating more addicts, more deaths and public drug use. BC set a record for overdose deaths in 2023 and things already look grim for 2024.

Giving feee drugs to addicts no questions asked is not policy. It’s a luxury belief driven by activists, and dressed up as evidence-based programming. There is absolutely no doubt that opiates obtained through harm-reduction programmes have been sold by criminal gangs. It’s been repeatedly shown that clients sell the free drugs so they can buy stronger drugs like fentanyl. Safe supply is actually increasing illicit fentanyl use — both by subsidizing the market and by creating new customers.

Journalist Adam Zivo has been doing yeoman’s work on this issue, exposing the activists and bad science driving this movement.

https://thehub.ca/2024-02-01/adam-zivo-new-landmark-safer-supply-study-is-junk-science/

Decriminalization is a bad idea. It doesn’t drive out criminal activity and it doesn’t reduce deaths. Full legalization would at least drive out the dealers. I’m not advocating for this, because I don’t have the answers, but it’s better than safe supply.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Why has Canada become such an all round hell hole on so many issues? Is it just Trudeau and the fact that somehow Canadians keep reelecting him? Or is there something deeper in Canadian psyche that makes them particularly susceptible to woke nonsense. Or is it all an over exaggeration and the real Canada is no more insane in relative terms than anywhere else in the west?
Genuine questions, to which you won’t be able to give definitive answers, but I would like to hear your views.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

No idea actually. Maybe we’re too nice and polite. I live in a rural community in Alberta, a much more conservative community. I believe Alberta is the only province that doesn’t have safe supply programs.

The media plays a role for sure. As bad as it is in Britain and the United States, it is far, far worse in Canada. There is exactly one major media outlet in Canada that would cover any story that questions safe supply.

On more than one occasion, Unherd has published information about Canada that was not covered by any major Canadian news outlet. To get Canadian news, I have to subscribe to a British publication.

George K
George K
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

National Post is doing decent job

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
2 months ago
Reply to  George K

The international rot in the news media is this generation’s true scandal. Having to pick facts out of propaganda recalls the worst of Pravda, Izvestia and Der Stürmer.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

The revenue model has been crushed. There simply isn’t enough money anymore to sustain a vibrant and diverse media.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

The problem is not simply that. It’s also a function of a lot of people blindly believing that propaganda, and unable to realise how all media repeats the same lines.

As some one else here said on one of the comments section, I quote: ” At least the Russians didn’t believe their Pravda”

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
2 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

There is a solid reason why Lenin is said to have coined the term, “useful idiot”.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
2 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

It is simply that. The media is hollowed out. Circulations and ad revenues are nothing…every company struggles and it has been a 20-year process that really accelerated in 2007-09 when lazy advertisers reacted to the credit crunch by cutting ads to the minimum.
I remember meeting the people at Johnston media in a flash, trophy office near the Parliament and Dynamic Earth and valued at £1.6Billion.
They were in a couple of floors in an edge of centre tower last time I heard valued at nothing and sold for 5p in the £ to David Montgomery’s burn the furniture company, National World. While the papers get waved around on the news channels schedule padding TV shows, and sit on racks at stations, people think it’s the same as it ever was, but it’s far, far from that.
They’ll fight tooth and nail to keep the on street flyers for the website going, but they’re too expensive, printing is too expensive and once another joins the Inde as online-only, I think we’ll see a stampede… some nationals may keep going as weeklies may keep going some may go bi-weekly or monthly, but I will be very surprised if they around in the same way by 2030.
Not only do people under 35 never read a paper, papers never enter their consciousness.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago
Reply to  George K

Yes, the Post and its sister publications still do a good job, but it has been so hollowed out by declining revenue that it is a shell of what it used to be.

A friend of mine works for one of its sister publications. They have a massive building in downtown Edmonton. None of the staff have returned to the office since covid because it’s cheaper to let the building sit there empty than actually return to the office.

Way back in the day when I worked in media, the CBC was a little fish in a big pond. Now it’s by far the biggest media player in Canada – because the rest of the industry has been crippled.

All of the regime media in Canada now gets funding from the federal govt, and the biggest player in the industry is 100% govt funded.

It’s a sad story man.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 months ago
Reply to  George K

Maybe for eastern canada.

Sandes Ashe
Sandes Ashe
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Canadians are too congenial. We say sorry when we are not, as if it is the polite thing to do. And also allow this misery to flourish; perhaps a more forceful early education is in order.
“Watch for snakes in the grass children… “, when in fact there are lions laying await.

To take nothing from Unherd, thank you very much Britain. Terry Glavin, an Irish-Canadian centre-right newsman writes for the National Post but also a substack called The Real Story, you may appreciate Jim.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago
Reply to  Sandes Ashe

Glavin is good. Has done great work on the supposed mass graves of indigenous children. He was a lone voice for a long time, but he relentlessly pushed the truth. Unfortunately, the very best journalists in Canada are aging out.

A D Kent
A D Kent
2 months ago
Reply to  Sandes Ashe

I’d recommend Trish Wood & her podcast too (called Trish Wood Goes Critical) – old school Canadian print journalist who I came across checking out the Trucker’s fiasco.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Having worked closely with members of the 5 main anglophone nations over the past 3 decades, if I had to guess which nation would be most impacted by a mad idea, the answer every time would be the US. Tying for least likely would be Australia and Canada. Australia and New Zealand lost the plot on Covid, but not as badly as Canada – they were not enacting emergency powers to stop truckers blowing their horns! The trans issue seems to have taken hold far worse in Canada. Climate alarmism seems to be worse, as well as open door policies to immigration (UK is just failing miserably to close the door). We all have all these issues, as do non anglophone nations, but for some reason Canada seems to me at least to have been completely turned on its head by them. Maybe I am wrong as this is all based on my lived experience and we know how badly that can lead everyone astray if you let it.
I believe the collapse of journalist integrity in MSM is a symptom not a cause and I am unconvinced it has much to do with politeness as my observation is whilst there are differences in quite how brash we can be, in general we are all polite to each other.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

The steaming pile of dog poo that has become the MSM is absolutely a symptom. The revenue has evaporated, and it has destroyed the business model. I think it’s even more impactful in small countries like Canada, which cannot financially support independents like the US.

Canada does seem far more captured by luxury beliefs than many other countries. I don’t know why. If there is a stupid idea embraced by institutions, Canada wants to lead the charge. This if partially explained by Trudeau of course. He is the wokest of the woke.

Many of the luxury beliefs are driven by activist NGOs. I know the federal govt funds a lot of these groups. Is it more prevalent in Canada? Maybe. When the premier of Alberta announced changes to gender care for kids, there was a protest of about 400 people in Edmonton. You know the organizers were all employees of NGOs funded by the federal govt. But how many others were friends, family and associates of NGO activists?

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I saw an article (not sure how accurate) that said Trudeau may go for a 4th term early, ie this year. Is there a credible alternative that sensible Canadians can all get behind to rescue what used to be a sane liberal country?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

I would be surprised if Trudeau called an early election. His approval ratings right now are historically low. I’m more inclined to think the Liberals dump his as party leader. Pierre Poilievre and the Conservative Party appear to be promoting truly alternative policies so there’s always hope.

Frances Davis
Frances Davis
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Have a close look at Ireland…sound,s familiar

Robert Thiesen
Robert Thiesen
2 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

There’s a sharp, quirky writer and Youtuber in Vancouver named J.J. McCullough who articulates what he calls Canada’s “left-wing nationalism,” which is all about Canadians feeling superior to our southern neighbour because we are more progressive. Canadians aware of the fact that the US shares a similar culture, is far larger, more dynamic, and richer appeal to Canada’s public healthcare system, multiculturalism (which is supposedly different than the “melting pot” in the US), more peaceful foreign policy, our less overt religiosity, and more progressive policies on issues like abortion and immigration to buttress a national identity that distinguishes us and gives us a sense of self-righteous superiority to America. Left-wing parties’ go-to slight that they lob at the Conservatives is that they are like those ignorant mossback Republicans in the States — an association that the Conservatives have to scrupulously avoid to remain appealing to the electorate.
McCullough’s take captures my experience of a mainstream, centre-left consensus in Canada, as well as many progressive Americans who basically take the same view. I do think this left-wing nationalism dovetails with what Jim pointed out about our polite culture. Because our institutions are part of our progressive identity, people in the established positions do not publicly break this consensus, unless it is in an even more progressive direction which sees even Canada as oppressive. More conservative opinions are seen as ignorant, unpatriotic, and yes impolite. They are never considered in a fair and rational way. If ever a conservative opinion is shared on the CBC, for example, the host generally cannot hide her disgust and is quick to jump in and argue back without considering what’s been said. And so, there ends up being no pushback or criticism of woke ideas in institutions like universities, legacy broadcasters, etc, until the wider population recognizes how absurd things have gotten and a dam breaks, like it has with the rise of Pierre Poilievre.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Nice and polite = gullible. The propaganda arm of the woke establishment, the CBC, doesn’t help. Ive actually complained through MP and MLA and had it heard in front of the ombudsmen.
All they did was do a better business bureau explanation and it was all good.
CBC and their ilk have sold Canadian democracy for a pay cheque.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

There is no hardship, suffering, challenges to face up to and obstacles to overcome. Arnold Toynbee said if the chllenges are too great civilisation cannot develop; such as the Innuit. Where too soft, such as tropical areas where food is abundant and one does not need to construct shelters, then there is no need. The Greeks said it was poverty that was their greatest instructor in hardihood and self-reliance. The Romans had the same attitude.
Canada had people with a pioneer spirit up to the 1960s. The fighting spirit of the Canadian Nation can be seen in the qualities of thoese who served in the Armed Forces in WW1 and WW2. A Canadian friend said the left wing American middle class who avoided Vietnam did great damage by undermining the pioneering spirit.
One can only temper with adversity and assess the mettle through testing not via comfort and ease.
Ease causes disease of the spirit.

Richard C
Richard C
2 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

I am from British Columbia and it’s not just Trudeau; although, he never gets more than 33% of the vote so he has no popular mandate for his extreme policies.

It starts with the education system and then gets worse from there. Add in huge envy about the US and a preening unearned moral superiority and you have a toxic mess.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
2 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

There must be something more sinister afoot. There is no rational explanation. Giving free opioids to users is like the fire department advocating for the use of gasoline to put out fires. Or trying to cure an addiction to food by living inside a grocery store. Or attempting to cure an addiction to child porn by working at a day care center. It is utterly insane to suggest this.
My son died of an overdose at 25 years old and my family physician stated early on that I must accept his loss, because it will happen regardless of what I do to prevent it. That is how fentanyl takes over the brain once used. It is a scourge on our society that so many people get addicted to these drugs. Making them legal is a sure-fire way to eliminate a sizable percentage of society, so perhaps that is the ultimate goal here.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

In Portugal originally this approach to Heroin was deemed a success at cutting criminal activity to fund habits and at getting users into treatment. But I read later that the picture is far more mixed and people have just moved onto something else.

Arthur King
Arthur King
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Singapore has been more successful in stopping Young people using hard drugs. Yes this Canadian wants the death penalty for major drug dealers. Hang them.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 months ago
Reply to  Arthur King

Lee Kuan Yew saw the dangers from communal riots in the mid 1960s and realised tight control was needed. The spread of communism and attempt by Indonesia to invade made leaders in Singapore they could not survive if they are weak, gullible and naive.
The reality is that for the middle class in Canad and USA they can be weak, naive and gullible and survive.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Oregon recently reversed its drug decriminalization because it was an unmitigated disaster.
As for the Chinese, they’re doing more than supplying the cartels with chemicals. They built their own labs in Mexico and use the cartels to distribute and enforce, which largely involves sending illegals into the U.S. and Canada, who then must continue to work for the cartels. The US government is obviously enabling this.

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago

The fact is that a) drugs exist, and b) people want to buy them. Neither of those things is going to change anytime soon. That being the case, someone will fill the market. If the drugs aren’t legal, gangsters will sell them. After all, during Prohibition, gangsters supplied alcohol.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
2 months ago

These are the people Brett Weinstein saw in his visit to the Darien Gap.
He thought they were Chinese soldiers. Seemed interesting but I came to doubt it.
Checked with my Chinese family – a branch of whom are from a gangsterish demographic. I was assured they are going there to work with the cartels.

The skill they have, by the way, isn’t principally the Walter & Jesse glamorous kinda stuff.

It’s logistics.

The Chinese are really brilliant at moving stuff.

As the precursors for making quality meth have evaporated, and fentanyl as a product is inherently self-limiting – there’s a limit to the % of folk who are prepared to die to get high – the market tastes have moved on to high strength strains of weed, mostly adulterated with some kind of cathinone or another. And that stuff is bulky.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I have my doubts about full legalization, too. Inevitably legalization is loaded up with regulation making it difficult to get a sales license and taxation that raises the price above the street price. It reduces the street dealers’ profit but doesn’t drive them out of business. That’s been the experience of states that made weed legal, and that’s likely to happen with other drugs.
That said, I have no idea what should be done. Actually, I have ideas but they involve mandatory extended treatment in custody, and even I know that’s going nowhere.

Skink
Skink
2 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

Well, it did drive out the illegal pot dealers outa Colorado. Even though marijuana is currently loaded with taxes. The only illegal pot here is illegal pot farms growing it for other states that have not legalized yet.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

I don’t have the answers either. Legalization doesn’t sound like a good idea to me, but seems infinitely better than decriminalization. I think we need to accept that there are a certain number of people who will be addicts, no matter what we do. We need to offer sincere options for these people and genuine care.

More importantly, we need to stomp out public drug use in the harshest manner possible. People don’t understand the damage caused by scenes of
addicts using on the street, or lying around in a stupor.

It’s demoralizing. It makes people think they live in a craphole and makes newcomers feel the same way. If your city looks like a craphole, it will become a craphole.

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“….a certain number of people who will be addicts….” It’s not just that. A significant number of people will want to get high, because it’s fun (in the same way that they want to get drunk, because it’s fun). Not every drug user is an “addict”, in the same way that not every drinker is an “alcoholic”.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Alberta is making a different path, after we got rid of the NDP.

Should prove interesting, a focus on rehab rather then give them enough drugs to kill themselves and put them out of our misery.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

100%. I think Alberta is the only province moving away from safe supply. Maybe I’m wrong.

Charles Jenkin
Charles Jenkin
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

In the interesting debate below, it does not appear that anyone is thinking about the influence, or lack of it, of religion. If young people are becoming existentially bored with life, it is possible that this is actually a spiritual issue? Of the anglophone nations being compared here, one of the common facets is the seemingly inexorable, long standing, sad roar of the tide of Christianity going out. Whatever its religious downsides of intolerance, authoritarianism and obscure traditional beliefs, at its heart Christianity says to people that you are deeply and unconditionally loved by the Creator of the Universe who has a purpose for your life, and who can redeem you from your greatest weaknesses. As this belief in the goodness of creation becomes less and less influential, is it surprising that more and more people are losing hope?

Heather Peeters
Heather Peeters
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Adam Zivo has also pointed out that safe supply is just getting on the street and sold for rock bottom prices. The “dillies” mentioned in this article likely were from safe supply. Addicts pick up their safe supply for free, sell it to a dealer, get their fentanyl, and then teenagers like Reese buy the dillies.

Gordon Beattie
Gordon Beattie
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

At the risk of being considered ‘unWoke’ and ‘unPC’ Your moronic head of state is reported to be an admirer of the CCP form of government. He should apply CCP solutions for those convicted of drug trafficking and dealing – A mandatory death sentence.

Rob Mort
Rob Mort
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Nowhere ever not once ever does anyone in this article mention or extolling turning your life over to jesus christ.. A method that’s worked for 3000 years yet people to gutless to bring it up. Insanity.

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
2 months ago

“Many of the Canadian advances have followed court rulings, such as the recent verdict in a case taken by nurses that banning the use of illicit drugs in public places infringed on the constitutional rights of users.” Following that BC court ruling, it remains illegal to have a glass of wine with a picnic in a public park in BC, but legal to consume fentanyl or crystal meth in a playground in the same park. And that’s an “advance”? Moral blackmail and misleading euphemisms are used throughout this article to promote drug liberalisation policies which would further normalise and facilitate drug abuse by children. “… their 13-year-old son, who took what he thought was a Xanax pill”. So would taking Xanax have been ok? It is not “compassionate”, “harm reduction” or “evidence based” to facilitate the further flow of illicit drugs into the community. Between them, Canadian local, provincial and federal governments spend 5 times as much on healthcare and 6 times as much on social protection transfers as they do on public safety and security, a complete inversion of what was once seen as the core responsibility of the State. If there was a public will to police the problem and adequately punish drug distributors, the flow of illegal drugs could be curbed.

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

“Taking a Xanax pill” would normally give you a measured dose, which would in turn give a specific result. Most overdose deaths result from there being no consistency in dose. If you are used to taking a white powder that has 20% active ingredient, and suddenly come across a batch that has 50% active ingredient (but which looks exactly the same), the overdose is a real probability.

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

So it’s no problem if a 13 year old is taking a powerful tranquilliser which they haven’t been prescribed for recreational purposes?

Steve Farrell
Steve Farrell
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

No of course it’s not “no problem”, but kids aren’t going to stop experimenting. I tried far more things before my 18th birthday than after.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

They buy the drugs online. Dealers actually advertise on Tik Tok and Instagram, the two most frequently visited sites for kids.

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

If they are getting “real” drugs, and the dose is accurate, it is not really an issue. Lots of people buy drugs on-line for medical (rather than recreational) reasons.

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

I’m not saying it’s not a problem, but it’s not as big a problem as is being made out here (assuming it is “real” Xanax”). 13 is a bit young, but if the person taking it is 18, it is even less of an issue.

Skink
Skink
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

Harm reduction, absent real movement against the drug war, originally made some sense, but like with everything on the left these days, people who promote it are unable to turn around when the results turn out unfavorable. Instead, they get angry and double down.
Theory (dogma?) more important than practice…

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

I am curious where in the constitution is the right to indulge in illegal activities cited. Perhaps the last part of your comment provides the answer – govt has found it more profitable to minimize its attention to public safety and maximize its involvement in other areas. And voters seem to signal their approval of this switch, right up to the point that the predictable results smack them in the face, in which case it’s too late.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

Nah, politicians just have to have back bone. The ruling elite have none.

Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago

Could you provide some details on your claim that the UK accounts for a third of Europe’s drug deaths? Perhaps by devolved region and / or per head of population therein?

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

The whole article is long on selective emoting, short on evidence for the radical measures proposed.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

If you believe it’s wrong then feel free to show your own stats that prove your point

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Scotland surely?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 months ago

Scotland is the worst per capita in Europe I believe

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

As is only to be expected.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 months ago

A few years ao an ice cream seller in Glasgow was putting heroin in the ice cream to get the children addicted to that he was selling from his van.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago

Why on earth don’t they use the far safer LSD as advocated by the late Albert Hofmann, Ernst Jünger and Dr Timothy Leary?
Even our own wonderfully named Professor (Emeritus) David NUTT ranked it as less harmful than the demon alcohol!

Aidan Twomey
Aidan Twomey
2 months ago

Well, duur, it is because they do not want to take far safer drugs.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Aidan Twomey

Darwinian self-selection perhaps?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Aidan Twomey

“durr”?
I’m so sorry I didn’t realise you suffered from a speech impediment. I shall endeavour to be more empathetic in future.

Aidan Twomey
Aidan Twomey
2 months ago

It took you 55 minutes to think of that reply?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Aidan Twomey

I had two Springer Spaniels to walk, far more important as I am sure you will agree?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Aidan Twomey

Often it’s because the dealers have pushed them on to the harder, more addictive stuff when they’re unable to source the usual orders of lighter gear

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Have you ever actually met any drug dealers? I mean, you talk like it’s still the 1970s (“softer”, “harder”, “drug pusher”).

Steve Farrell
Steve Farrell
2 months ago

Isn’t the problem that there’s fentanyl in everything? Even if you want to take LSD, it’s cut with fentanyl.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Farrell

It doesn’t have to be and wasn’t originally.

Steve Farrell
Steve Farrell
2 months ago

That’s true enough, but for now it is. I’ve no idea what the solution is, beyond acting like everything is laced with fentanyl.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Farrell

Legalisation and quality control would cure that in a jiffy.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
2 months ago

Legislation never ever cures anything in a jiffy. Making it worse in a jiffy, yes, but never jiffy cures.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

Capital punishment cures everything, every time, first time. No ifs no buts.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 months ago

This the problem though that it’s increasingly finding its way into everything else. I’m glad I’m not young now, the amount of substances I dabbled in chances are at least one would have been cut with the stuff and done me some real damage

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Farrell

That one is easy to fix. Buy LSD on blotter. The volume is too small to get an active dose of anything else on there (after all, LSD is active in the microgram range, but most drugs are active in the milligram range).

Sophy T
Sophy T
2 months ago

Many people find LSD pretty unpleasant. It’s not relaxing like opiates.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Sophy T

,They’ don’t know what they are missing.

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  Sophy T

Well, it’s an entirely different thing. Opiates are essentially pain killers. No matter what bad stuff has happened to you, opiates will take the pain away. However, if you take that “pain” headspace into an LSD trip, it probably won’t be pretty.

Aidan Twomey
Aidan Twomey
2 months ago

Canada is a country where thousands of people are euthanised every year, and the government wants to extend it to minors with mental health problems. There is a link between this and the urge for teenagers to look into the void. I can feel it, I just need Mary Harrington to put it into words for me.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 months ago
Reply to  Aidan Twomey

Its a death cult, no doubt about it.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
2 months ago

State supply of drugs and decriminalisation are a progressive fantasy.

The UK NHS loses around £1.25billion/year to theft and fraud. They can’t even maintain control of the medical equipment, drugs etc they are currently responsible for. Expecting state agencies to effectively maintain control of fentanyl etc on a large scale is unicorn-level delusion.

We’ve seen the impact of effective decriminalisation in progressive paradises like San Francisco.

Alcohol and cigarettes are legal, licensed and regulated for quality. Doesn’t stop criminals selling them cheaper on the black market. No reason to believe fentanyl would be different.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
2 months ago

I completely agree; the labs abroad keep coming up with cooler new products but now they also appear to be able to up their strength ad infinitum; a disastrous turn of events.

Do people actually think the government can play catch up with the gangs in cool drug production ? Do they seriously think the Mafia are going to retire from a business worth €30 billion in Europe alone and ‘call it a day’ ?

The idea is a cool progressive fantasy.

Why on earth is it a human right to experiment ‘safely’ with and be relaxed about narcotic abuse ? Luxury beliefs of a generation with too much time on their hands and nothing better to do.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Again legalisation would cut the ‘Gordian knot’ and those Mafioso would be back to selling Pizzas.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
2 months ago

The UK market for illegal tobacco production and smuggling is estimated by HMRC to be worth £2.8bn/year. The estimated tax avoided by illicit alcohol sales alone is £1.2bn/year.

Those are legal products sold in supermarkets for which numerous alternatives exist (patches etc) and free medical support is available to stop using. But still criminals are all over them.

The idea that the state can satisfy the market demand for recreational drugs so completely that organised criminal gangs will simply give up and get regular jobs is beyond delusional.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
2 months ago

Reduce the tax on both.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
2 months ago

Removing the blasted minimum pricing in Scotland and Wales would be a start and would probably go a long way to reducing the associated drug and malnutrition problems.

Come September when a bottle of 40% gin or Scotch will retail at £18.20 and the excess price going to the retailer’s pocket, I and many others will be patronising the Aldi in Berwick Upon Tweed, filling our boots and sticking two fingers up at the ‘Welcome to Scotland’ sign on our way home.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
2 months ago

Another disappearing comment. I was replying to suggest removing minimum alcohol pricing and how the canny Scotch will probably drive to Berwick September. Can’t imagine why it got zapped, unless the SNP run the censor-bot.

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago

What are the figures for legal tobacco and legal alcohol?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
2 months ago

Legalization would remove the gang element, true. But it’s not a stand-alone solution. Some trade-offs come with it, as more than one place has learned.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 months ago

The issue with many drugs is that they turn people into those who are unproductive and a danger to others. Who wants an aircraft pilot or driver of petrol tanker to be on drugs ?

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Whether people take drugs “safely”, or take drugs “unsafely”, they are going to take drugs. That much is a given.

Skink
Skink
2 months ago

The reason there is black market in ciggs is that the taxes on it are too high. Lower the taxes, and the black market will go away. A small extra tax goes a long way. But governments always get hungry for more.

John Pade
John Pade
2 months ago

Containing, let alone eliminating, drug addiction has proven itself to to incompatible with Western norms. Western norms are a fertile plot ideal for addiction’s flourishing.
There are only two examples of societies that have dealt successfully with addictive drugs: Singapore and El Salvador (success in the latter taking the form of eliminating the vector of drug addiction, I.e., gangs).
After 60+ years of uninterrupted growth and ever metastasizing types of drug addiction, each worse than the last, to which successive creative strategies have only proven temporary checks, the clock has run out on innovation.
Far sterner measures than Western norms allow are the only solutions. It’s either them or give up.

Skink
Skink
2 months ago
Reply to  John Pade

Legalize. Regulate. Everywhere. Just like with alcohol. Will people never learn?!

Ian_S
Ian_S
2 months ago

Holy crap.

No point saying more, my comment will be removed soon.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
2 months ago

When do we tell the truth and openly say that govt is often complicit in this sort of thing? The DC cartel is just as sinister as those in Mexico and it apparently has counterparts in Ottawa that are just fine with spreading misery across the population. The US war on drugs has been as big a failure as Prohibition was, but it continues because too many govt fiefdoms have sprouted around it.
While complete decriminalization is no panacea, either – because no such thing exists – it at least eliminates the criminality and the gang warfare while creating new issues, as Oregon discovered. Of course, that state also chose to ignore the issues that come with making anything legal, thereby providing one more example of govt’s relentless ability to make any situation worse.
I’m not sure what the answer is or if one exists, but it’s clear that the status quo is not working. Yet, America’s southern border remains open, we tolerate the drug labs in Mexico, and we hand-wave criminality. The results are as self-evident as they were foreseeable and the Iron Law of foreseeable consequences is that they are not accidental.
When you know what the likely result of something will be and you do it anyway, that’s called intent. This is not some surprising circumstance; it is the direct fallout of policy decisions for which no one is ever held accountable.

Skink
Skink
2 months ago

Ian Birrell: an interesting article, and thought provoking. If you could cut down on the lefty shibboleths, it would be even better. 🙂

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  Skink

Lefty shibboleths enable one to recognise Lefties.

Bill Hayden
Bill Hayden
2 months ago

“Man’s Search For Meaning” in a dark world. To lose a loved one is where mortality meets immortality, where life gets real. To lose a child so young, a thousand times more. Why? Where is “God” in this article? I read about reasons like “hopelessness”, “fun and boredom”, “loneliness and despair” and naturally with teenagers especially a search for meaning. That’s our fault, every damned one of us myself included. We live in a dark world. We didn’t ask for it, we were born into it. Life isn’t fair. Why does “God” let it happen? What have we done by bringing children into this world when the future is so dangerous and frightening? Truth time. You were born for these days. Everything happens for a reason. And yes, God does not make mistakes. Reality bites, when you look at life through the lens of birth to death and that’s all. You were sent here. You were created with unique “gifts” that makes you one of a kind. You are here to discover what those gifts are, who you are at the core, not some fake materialistic money loving w***e with a pedigree from a university and a resume of success, grasping to hold on to this mortal life and all the possessions you can’t take with you to the next, but to take those “gifts” you have been sent here with, and give them away. In a dark world, “all it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing when evil happens”. Take care of the little things and the big things take care of themselves. There was a man who once said, love God with all your heart, your mind, and your spirit. I believe it is the first commandment. And the second? Love your brothers and sisters, the children of God, as you love God. Get those two things right, and we will reflect “rivers of Light” into this dark world where common sense should tell us that only light overcomes the darkness. Darkness never goes away, it only recedes, waiting patiently for the Light to go out. In mankind’s seemingly never ending quest for power and money (false gods), we have turned our backs on the Light, we are no longer in alignment with those two commandments. There are consequences to Universal Laws, no matter how the lawyers and judges twist the words and the laws of man to mean the opposite. In short: the victory is at hand. It is ours to win or lose. Today, this day, to be “born again” this day with gratitude to be alive to do His work, is the greatest gift of all. Those who have passed from this life before us are still with us, they are a part of us, do not let their passing go in vain by denying the power you have to reflect the Light into this world today by asking the Creator all day every day, “what should I do today” and to pray “alone I am not strong enough, but I pray for the peace, the strength, the courage, the wisdom and above all the faith to do Your will today.” Is what I am doing today in alignment with those two commandments? Because today is all there is. Life is short, but eternity lasts forever. You will see your loved ones again, have faith! Today you are called to be the hands and feet, go forth into this dark world and give your gifts to the best of your ability. The kingdom of heaven is not someplace you go after you die, it is here and now, if you will just choose of your own free will to accept the freedom by the price that was paid by the One who was tortured and crucified, who asked His Father in Heaven to forgive the sinners, who rose from the dead and will come again. Freedom, true freedom for all eternity, is won one soul at a time. To do less, is to be “the walking dead”. There is meaning and purpose, you are here for a reason. And don’t you ever forget it. Now let’s roll! I’m tired of seeing evil prevail and people doing nothing. You can do it. Be strong, have faith. “Never surrender, not give in, never give up, never quit.”

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 months ago
Reply to  Bill Hayden

Choose life.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
2 months ago
Reply to  Bill Hayden

Well said Bill

Kevan Hudson
Kevan Hudson
2 months ago

As a Canadian who returned to the country in 2019 I am constantly frustrated with our governments and their policies displaying full on “nonsense governance”. I actually live in British Columbia and it is clearly the most Woke province full of NPCs (especially in the populated southwest of the province).
The safe supply policies pushed by our provincial bureaucrats and drug activists are clearly failing. Currently there is a push to allow youth, without parental permission, to freely access free hard drugs. Supreme nonsense!
How do we tackle this issue and change the negative trajectory it is on?
1. Build resilience.
Get kids outside and into summer camps. More free programming for youth at community centres. Stop the culture of victimhood proliferating among Canadians including the young.
2. I agree with those that we should not stigmatize individual users. However, I still think we should stigmatize drug use on a societal level. We have gone from “drugs are bad” and locking everyone up to “drugs are OK” and not punishing drug dealers.
3. Mandate treatment in return for any form of safe supply. Enabling hard drug usage is absolutely not working.
4. Clamp down on the influence of the Chinese Communist Party in Canada. Evidence overwhelmingly shows their involvement in the drug trade.
5. If possible vote out the New Democratic Party in British Columbia and the Liberals for Canada. Hopefully we can elect parties that stand up to bureaucrats and defend the health of Canadians.
As an old school leftist I look forward to more conservatives like Danielle Smith that engage in nuanced policies regarding drugs and gender ideology.

Arthur King
Arthur King
2 months ago
Reply to  Kevan Hudson

Stigma kept lots of kids from using chemicals in the 1970s. Anyone in my rough town who used meth or opoides was considered a real loser.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 months ago
Reply to  Kevan Hudson

The Left stopped communities being self policing. There was little crime in the rugby playing chapel attending mining communites of the UK up to the 1960s, even during The Depression. Criminals may be vicious but they are not tough compared to a rugby playing miner who has served in the Armed Forces.
The Glasgow Police used to recruit very large Calvinists from the Highlands being free of corruption and very strong.
What is Highland Games Athletics? (youtube.com)

Carissa Pavlica
Carissa Pavlica
2 months ago

The article lost me when someone suggested the state should provide safe drugs. If the issue is the need to escape you treat that. You don’t open a different door for someone to go through that’s just as toxic.

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago

If that is your solution, you need to be aware that it is destined to fail.

Jake Raven
Jake Raven
2 months ago

It’s no good targetting users when dealers get a slap on the wrist.
Maybe the dealers could be euthanised with their own poison. Prison and rehabilitation won’t work, and there’s not enough prison capacity available anyway. The punishment must be so severe it frightens them into not making money from drugs, any drugs regardless of type or potency.

Sophy T
Sophy T
2 months ago

Many of the Canadian advances have followed court rulings, such as the recent verdict in a case taken by nurses that banning the use of illicit drugs in public places infringed on the constitutional rights of users.’
I don’t understand this. Did nurses bring the case that banning drugs in public places was an infringement of constitutional rights?
Why would nurses bring such a case?

Sylvia Volk
Sylvia Volk
2 months ago
Reply to  Sophy T

The nurses’ argument was that for the sake of their own safety, users should take drugs in public places so they can be helped if they overdose. If they retreat to where they can’t be seen, then help won’t find them in time. They have a constitutional right to be helped; that’s the gist of the argument as I understand it.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Sylvia Volk

Bring back the opium dens

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yeah, I always wanted to go to one of those. I don’t suppose there are any “old school” ones left.

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
2 months ago
Reply to  Sophy T

This is the same nurses that are so woke that their union is prosecuting Amy Hamm for saying that men and women are biologically different. Not surprising they would go “full retard” (Tropic Thunder reference) on drug policy.

Sylvia Volk
Sylvia Volk
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris Milburn

Yes. I’m very glad I don’t live in BC.

Howard S.
Howard S.
2 months ago

Saying that this is just another example of Nature culling the herd would be cruel and insensitive. But I’m saying it anyway.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 months ago
Reply to  Howard S.

Human societies which allow the currently weak to succumb aren’t worth fighting for.

Peter Stephenson
Peter Stephenson
2 months ago

The dangers of drugs are up there with guns nowadays, but the media class is still soft on drugs, being full of people who are terrified of looking like a fuddyduddy, so the danger will not be confronted, no matter how serious the problem becomes there will be journalists and politicians poo pooing the obvious significance of the figures with the usual spurious appeal to the gods of personal freedom and Cool. Time to bring Peter Hitchens in from outside. Way past time. I wish I could get my hands on all those idiots for whom permissiveness is still a guide to the good life.

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago

So, your contribution to the debate is the same as Nancy Reagan’s was – “Just Say No”?

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
2 months ago

There is so much wrong with this article that I wrote 4 parts on it: https://pairodocs.substack.com/p/is-there-harm-in-harm-reductionpart1
The first part of this article was fine, stating facts and putting the problem into perspective. Then it switched into saying that people can’t possibly quit doing drugs so the best way to save lives is to destigmatize drug use and give free drugs to them. Both the proposition here (people can’t abstain, so don’t try) and the proposed solution (destigmatization, taxpayer-funded supply) are wrong, both in principle and in practice.
We have gone HARD at “harm reduction” and more recently “safe supply” in Canada (especially BC) for the last 25 years. Vancouver now spends more than 1 million dollars per DAY on such programs. And yet death rates keep climbing (more in areas with more spending on harm reduction)
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result”

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris Milburn

Then it switched into saying that people can’t possibly quit doing drugs so the best way to save lives is to destigmatize drug use and give free drugs to them“. 
It’s not that they “can’t possibly quit doing drugs”, it’s more that they don’t want to quit, because they like doing drugs.

peter lucey
peter lucey
2 months ago

I have no practical solutions either. But the best analysis of the drug issue is the chapter “The Whiffle Life” in P. J O’Rourke’s book “Parliament of Whores”.

20-odd pages, accurate, sympathetic, bitter -and very funny.

H W
H W
2 months ago

Io

mike otter
mike otter
2 months ago

TBH seems a lot of these wasters earned themselves a darwin award – Heroin is generally brown or off white and if its green (!) or in pill form its probably carfentanyl, thorazine or some other crap, or if you are very lucky MSTs or diconal.The dominant ideology sells this crap and puffs its junky chic and “junk is cool” imagery through TV and the internet, and that ideology is pseudo-marxism. Real Marxism is about trying to work from each others’ abilities to our collective needs – its got nowt to do with narcotics. Trudeau and his equivalents in the UK/US are fakes and will fill their pockets at the public expense even if it means shifting fentanyl. Now the kids of the rich are ODing we see hand wringing like the piece above. I’d love to join in the choir invisible but 1. i don’t care and 2. its time to get high.

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  mike otter

Who’d have thought you could tell the active ingredient of any substance solely by it’s colour?

carl taylor
carl taylor
2 months ago

“Britain, [] accounts for almost one-third of overdose deaths in Europe”. I wonder how England and Scotland fare separately, statistically? And what each is doing differently? 

Jeffrey Mushens
Jeffrey Mushens
2 months ago
Reply to  carl taylor

Scotland is the worst by far, per capita and in absolute terms. They’re promoting harm reduction as well. The latter is a well meaning sounding excuse not to tackle drugs and give social workers and charities in this space a job for life.

Arthur King
Arthur King
2 months ago

Canada has become a meaningless culture which doesn’t give a rats arse about its young. Young people can’t be independent due to high housing costs. Young people can’t seek higher purpose because they’ve not been introduced to religion. Young people can’t even afford booze and drinking with friends like Canadian Young people did prior to the 80s. Drugs aren’t the problem, Older Canadians indifference to the plight of your younger generations needs are the problem.

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  Arthur King

Young people can’t seek higher purpose because they’ve not been introduced to religion“. 
They may not seek “higher purpose”, but it sounds like they can “get high”.

Margaret Adams
Margaret Adams
2 months ago

Seriously. We have made this a complicated issue when it really isnt. Dont take any drugs not prescribed to you and if you do, you need to accept the consequences. Its no different to making a decision to walk out in front of a moving car. The likelihood of dying or being seriously injured is very high.

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  Margaret Adams

The likelihood of dying or being seriously injured is very high“.
It’s not “very high”. Many millions of people take illicit drugs of various sorts every day.

John Pade
John Pade
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

109,000 Americans died from drugs in 2022.

Martin M
Martin M
2 months ago
Reply to  John Pade

That is probably out of billions of doses taken.

Nicola Gee
Nicola Gee
2 months ago
Reply to  Margaret Adams

A somewhat different perspective is that there may be numerous innocent parties out there, who became addicts owing to the prescription drug OxyContin.In any case, best not to judge.

Charlie Two
Charlie Two
2 months ago

the american legalisation experiment shows where the ‘non prohibition’ stance ends: with a complete reversal after chaos. as for the ‘war’ on drugs, what ‘war’? when was the last time a drone strike was used by a western nation to target cartel scum and their families? rich users get let off by the courts. slap on the wrist sentences for selling. war my arse.

Peter M
Peter M
2 months ago

Safe supply may sound like a good idea but in practice just leads to kids taking more drugs than they otherwise would, and as word gets around that illegal drugs have a bigger high the temptation to try them will increase. In this sense, safe supply is a gateway to more risk. This approach, based on the idea that kids know what’s beset for them, is similar to the idea that kids know what “gender” best suits them. In both cases, we’re trusting kids to have a stability of mind, emotions and identity that most adults don’t regularly show. It’s incredibly naive. I don’t know what the answer is, but making drug use easy isn’t it.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 months ago

“This corner of Canada is already pushing such harm-reduction policies. Possession of small quantities of drugs for personal use was decriminalised last year following the introduction of safe consumption rooms and drug-testing facilities — in stark contrast with Britain, which accounts for almost one-third of overdose deaths in Europe yet remains hooked on prohibition. Many of the Canadian advances have followed court rulings, such as the recent verdict in a case taken by nurses that banning the use of illicit drugs in public places infringed on the constitutional rights of users”.

I think Ian Birrell is an excellent journalist, and I’m certainly open to evidence, but it seems somewhat bizarre to compare the utterly disastrous situation in British Columbia favourably with the significantly better one in “prohibitionist” UK.

It isn’t really all that difficult to understand why people take drugs, of all kinds. They feel great – at least at first.

Emre S
Emre S
2 months ago

 But I don’t tell kids how to run their lives. They’d laugh at me if I did.

There’s nothing special about Vancouver why this problem is happening there and not somewhere else. It’s not the proximity to the ocean, the local weather, or a trade route.
Yet it’s interesting how the above is seen is common wisdom. A society who can’t teach children what’s right and wrong, doesn’t have the confidence to tell them how to run their lives, is a lost society.