[FONT=Arial,Helvetica] 'WE'LL SPEAK FOR YOU'
Group Seeks Drug Horror Stories; Issues Plea To PM
If you or your family are affected by drugs, Turnings wants to know.
The group's co-ordinator, Ron Fitzpatrick, is issuing a public call for people to bring their stories of addiction to his organization, so it can turn up the pressure on the province to establish a long-term drug addictions treatment facility.
Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I. are the only provinces that do not have such a facility. People from this province requiring treatment for drug problems beyond 21-days are sent to facilities on the mainland.
"We're asking people to just send us their stories. They don't have to use their real names," Fitzpatrick said.
"There's all kinds of need for a long-term facility here. If we can get these responses then we can use that as ammunition to plank in front of the premier or the minister to show them this is a problem."
On Tuesday, The Telegram's online, unscientific "Tely Poll" asked: Should the provincial government build a long-term addictions treatment facility in the province?
A total of 976 people responded to the question, with 825 - 85 per cent - voting "yes." Twelve per cent voted against the idea, and three per cent were undecided.
"We know it's hard for people to talk about this stuff, we know it's humiliating," Fitzpatrick said. "We're saying give us your story and we'll see that it happens for you - we'll speak for you."
Sharon ( not her real name ) knows only too well the stress of dealing with a drug-addicted child. Her 15-year-old is addicted to cocaine and booze.
Sharon is among those who supports the idea of a long-term addictions facility in the province.
"Look, I know there's a lot of shame attached to something like this, so I can understand people being hesitant. But if speaking out is what it will take to change things, then speaking out is what we have to do," she said.
"I think people might be a bit more comfortable knowing they don't have to make their names public. I hope people will come forward; We need all the help we can get."
The province has said it is simply following the recommendations of the 2005 OxyContin Task Force by sending people out of the province for drug treatment.
Health Minister Ross Wiseman has announced, however, that the province is reviewing its addictions treatment programs.
Fitzpatrick said he's so disappointed with the province's response to the drug problem that he has written a letter to Stephen Harper, pleading for aid.
"Turnings is begging the prime minister of Canada to think about helping us because our own government doesn't care enough to do it," Fitzpatrick said, referring to the province's program review.
"Looking into stuff don't mean nothing. We need action.
"Too many people are hurting, too many families are being broken up, marriages falling apart, kids overdosing; while these guys decide to have a look at it."
Fitzpatrick said most of the people who speak out do so because they have run out of answers, or have hit rock bottom.
He hopes his call for people to come forward will reach those who are only beginning to head down the drug-paved road.
"We need everyone to speak out. Government is not going to provide services and make them readily available unless people speak out," he said.
"There is a serious drug problem in our province that is affecting every man, woman and child ( and ) our province is in desperate need of a long-term addictions treatment facility. Turnings believes this is a goal worth fighting for, so speak up, share your story of addictions with us."
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