Fraser Valley – (J Metcalfe – West Coast Prison Justice Society ) – This article, published by the West Coast Prison Justice Society – looks at the drug/opioid crisis from inside prison walls. In particular, Kent and Matsqui Institutions. This is a subject that will offend many as there is a view that if your are “inside and addicted”, you get what you deserve. 12 Step recovery groups in the Fraser Valley make an effort to take recovery behind the walls. For the record, those who do that kind of service must go through a major security check and clearance.
On July 17, 2017, Prisoners’ Legal Services wrote to Correctional Service Canada on behalf of 33 prisoners struggling with addiction who are unable to get appropriate medical treatment. The letter raises urgent concerns about woefully inadequate resources and the abrupt and inhumane discontinuation of medication for patients who do receive Opioid Substitution Therapy.
As the letter explains, many clients say they are looking for help to stop using drugs and are afraid of overdosing, but that they are unable to get the help they need. Some have been waiting months—and some even years—for treatment. Others have been cut off their life-saving medication after allegations of diversion with no meaningful opportunity to defend themselves or exploration of alternatives to termination.
The letter urges Correctional Service Canada to make immediate changes to its Opioid Substitution Therapy program to ensure everyone who needs this life-saving treatment has access to it.