Drug site review makes sense

In order to add stress to a given situation, order a review.

To add fear into the mix, call it a review panel.

We see it happening in the workplace, in a questionable social practice, and in many more instances.

It tends to raise the neck hairs a little on those involved, as we found out in an article on the front page of the Advocate Aug. 20: “Safe injection sites: Panel to review impacts on communities.”

Typical behaviour by those who could potentially be affected by such a review is one of reaction, rather than response. In all likelihood, many of these folks have had free rein in their endeavours, however beneficial they might be.

In their minds, a review could only mean one thing: reduced funding, or worse, a shutdown of building new facilities.

Reactions are swift and furious, filled with accusations of hidden government agendas, loss of revenues or staff. So we see fear is driving these reactions.

What if the opposite could be true, with the use of response, rather than reaction?

Response would entail making sure all your ducks are in a row and your organization is completely above board, and to this point, you have faithfully fulfilled all your obligations.

At the same time, acknowledgment of the fact any publicly funded organization should be fully open to frequent review is a must.

The review panel that has been proposed is looking not at the operations of organizations, but at the effects of certain activities of these organizations on the community.

This is something that should have been happening all along. Of the many folks I speak with, the greater majority feel the same way, with more than one person asking why they were never questioned about how all this activity affects them.

It seems that when they do speak, no one listens.

Once again, the official response has been one of reaction to the built up frustration of the community. Would it not have been more prudent to respond at the very beginning of the issues?

Although many in the community support any effort to save lives, there is growing skepticism with the apparent growth, rather than decrease, of drug overdoses.

It is these skeptical and caring folk who the review is targeting. Hither to, their voices have been fairly silent, owing in part to their reluctance to criticize something they are not familiar with.

But the number of questioning complaints is rising, which I believe is one of the main reasons for the formation of the review panel.

Whether the government has other motives for a review panel is, of course, not known, but we have to believe it is working for a balanced assessment of the entire situation.

Then there are also unanticipated results of a thorough review, such as increased funding or a different and possibly superior approach to difficult issues.

Don’t be too quick to say otherwise, because it has been known to happen.

Demands for answers from the community will result in more oversight committees.

I believe the announcement of a review panel being set up in all likelihood will lead to the formation of an oversight committee to monitor the effectiveness and continued viability of safe drug consumption sites.

With a tightening of the public purse and the continued decline of jobs that help to pay for these services, the frustrations of the community also continue to grow. These have to be addressed so the right decisions can be made.

Although it can add stress to already difficult work, the response from the community that supports that work also has to be continually under review.

Chris Salomons is a retired Red Deer resident with a concern for the downtrodden.

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