“By making it hard for people to talk about overdose we’re also stigmatizing talking about ways to stay safer and also to get help.”
“I lost my brother in 2018. He didn’t die suddenly from an overdose but from long-term damage from substance use that caused him to have a heart attack.
“My brother had isolated from family and friends. He called me one day and was in serious trouble. Having someone really listen to him when most people wouldn’t give him the time of day meant the world to him. And helping him navigate in little chunks helped him along the road to getting clean and sober, something he wanted for himself. And he eventually achieved that. While he died tragically and unexpectedly, he died clean, happy and hopeful and looking forward to the future for the first time in 25 years.
“It’s important for people to know that this doesn’t just happen to strangers. My 16 year old son’s friend died of overdose recently. I lost a friend and co-coach, to overdose.
A thirty second conversation can save a person’s life. By making it hard for people to talk about overdose we’re also stigmatizing talking about ways to stay safer and also to get help. If we can’t have the conversation somewhere along the line we can’t win. When we stop and realize the grim toll this crisis has taken, we realize it isn’t about strangers. It touches everyone.
“I don’t want anyone to have to be woken up at 5 a.m. by police and people in black clothes. I don’t want anyone to have to go through that. Whether it’s one of my players or students’ parents, a neighbour or a friend calling me, I will answer the call. I will always take the call. It doesn’t matter how long I’m on the phone – I don’t get to dictate that – it could be the difference between life and death for someone.
"Take the call, have the conversation."
Paul Horn is the Mayor of Mission, B.C.