London ON

Caught in human traffic Lies!

Here is a story that I read last week entitled “Caught in human traffic”. Coincidentally, I also happened to read it the day before I was presenting my paper on human trafficking of Indigenous women/girls which argues that these new anti-human trafficking legislation(s) and/or policies are in effect an attempt to control Indigenous women’s bodies/sexuality, and in a much broader significance, Indigenous sovereignty. I am not alone in this argument as Laura Agustin describes this social phenomena in similar terms. Smith on Agustin writes,

She said that the words “human trafficking” started entering the lexicon in a serious way around 2003 and 2004. Now, she maintained that the language is shifting to emphasize slavery. She bluntly described this movement as a colonial initiative. (Smith, 2011)

I was not impressed with the above LFpress story and the significant claim being made by the alleged victim in this story. After speaking to multiple mutual friends who both know the victim in this story and the dancer who committed suicide (who is mentioned in this story), I decided to write this blog post. The article reads,

Most importantly she throws a lifeline to the women being trafficked on the circuit she once worked. But sometimes the rope misses. “The hardest part is losing them,” she said, referencing a girl who hung herself three months ago. “Her stage name was Alex, but I want to say her real name out loud – it’s Michelle – because she was a real person,” said Stacey. 

The suggestion that this victim knew Alex/Michelle well enough to know her reasons for suicide is a falsification of Alex/Michelle’s story to sensationalize the alleged victim’s own story to solidify the argument that human trafficking in London ON (or in Ontario in general). Most importantly, it is also a complete disregard for the families/friends of Alex/Michelle. I even commented on the article and another reader suggested that I was in denial that her suicide was connected to human trafficking. I can tell you right now that the suggestion that Alex/Michelle committed suicide because of human trafficking is a blatant lie. I can also tell you that the victim in the story did not know Alex/Michelle. In fact, she was not allowed in the club or anywhere near the club where Alex/Michelle worked (from a mutual friend who knows the victim and Alex/Michelle). So to suggest she tried to “save her” is another blatant lie. Also, the article has Alex/Michelle’s death date wrong because she died last August 2012 not three months ago. To put it plainly: another blatant lie, and she just doesn’t know what she is talking about when it comes to someone I lived with, was my neighbor, had a relationship with, knew her parents, was there for the birth of her child, and a magnitude of other life events.

This idea that anti-human traffickers make up statistics or stories or use the lives/deaths of people no longer around anymore always seem so distant to me. However, after reading this article, I knew that I had to do something; hence, I am writing this blog post.

I am not here to suggest that people who are exploited or victimized should not have their stories acknowledged; however, if claims are going to be made about certain populations then these claims need to be legitimate and not further exploited for financial gain which is what is happening here with this idea that human trafficking occurs in London ON. I wrote about the research that suggests that “1:5 in sex workers” are trafficked (you can read more HERE). There are huge amounts of government grants and research grants that are being poured into program planning and program implementation locally, nationally, and internationally. In fact, Agustin mentions that one does not even have to mention “trafficking” to receive funding. I guess that is why the research report that I cited in my previous blog post “Human Trafficking in London?!?!’ mentions “Aboriginal women” only briefly (I mean, there are loads of money pouring into organizations and institutions that seek to investigate the lives of this “vulnerable population.”). While describing the picture of two white-abled bodied men drawing attention to “vulnerable women,” Agustin writes,

They don’t mention trafficking too loudly, but that is now the keyword to access much funding for ‘women’s issues’. It wouldn’t matter that these two guys are unlikely to have met any trafficked victims or know what to do if they did.

Another issue that needs to be addressed with the anti-human traffickers’ crusade is the organizations involved. As state in the article, the alleged victim received help from the Salvation Army and is a member of the London Anti-Human Trafficking coalition (LAHTC). I had a class last year and it was entitled “Sociology of Deviance.” In this class I learned that the LAHTC argues that the strippers/exotic dancers who are being trafficked travel in groups along the Windsor Corridor which is also described in the LFPress article. The reason strippers/exotic dancers travel in groups to various clubs in Ontario is because it is safer! It can even be argued that it is suggested that non-sex work women should not travel alone or employ safe travel practices when traveling alone like changing rooms if a stranger over hears the hotel agent announcing the room in the lobby while presenting a room key to the female guest. So then why is there a difference in traveling advice/tips for sex workers? Must they absolutely travel alone in order not to be considered a trafficking vicim? Must they put the consideration of anti-human traffickers and their ideals of sex workers above their own income/employment by sticking to one club, absolutely?

Not only does the LAHTC propose outlandish ideas that suggest a sex worker is being trafficked, the training manuals that have been created also create problems for all those involved in this anti-human trafficking crusade. This short 6 minute video is a fine example of the problems associated with training for the rehabilitation of human trafficking victims:

Although not obvious, the training manual suggests that prostitution can be found at health clinics (???), and that God intended for sexual relations to only happen between man/woman (hello transphobia/homophobia), and the there needs to be a “restoration” of sexuality to this natural intention, and finally, what to expect from human trafficking victims: masturbation (!?!?!?), confused sexuality (!?!!??!), and STIs (!?!??!). So not only does it cause stigmatization among the victims, it assumes that the only way for a victim to be truly saved he/she must conform to societal gender/sex norms. It also suggests that all those in the sex industry have STIs. I always wondered where this idea came from and why the reader in the above LFpress article suggested that prostitution be legalized (not decriminalized which is what is really being asked of the courts with the Bedford et al. case before the SCC), and that all “prostitutes” should undergo mandatory STI testing–I guess this is where the idea originates from that all those involved even those who are considered human trafficking victims will have STIs which is also indicated in this US based website. Hello stigmatization!!!

In addition to the above paragraph, what is really alarming about this video is the role-playing suggestions for facilitators of groups and as the voice-over announces, “it is a perfect example of sexual exploitation” because the facilitator must call on a volunteer (actually a woman), then blindfold one and then gag the other, and having the gagged-other to call out for help. A big WHAT-THE-EFF! This training manual is the training manual of the same Christian/Faith based organization mentioned in the LFpress: the Salvation Army.

So hey people of London, while you read about these stories and these suggestions that human trafficking exists in Southern Ontario, please be critical of where you are reading the information, who is presenting the information because it is clear that the organizations involved will exploit the lives/deaths of others for their own agenda and own gain.

Fleming Drive

So I tried my best to stay away from writing about this but I just couldn’t after I read THIS lfpress.com article.

The landlords complaining about being targeted? Honestly, I am thankful for my CURRENT landlord. He is nice, courteous, and even let me in after I locked myself out at 11:30 pm after studying all day at school. I am not as nerdy as I sound. I like to let my hair down once in a while like any other person my age.

How does this relate to Fleming Drive incident? I also used to live on Thurman Circle which is quite close to Fleming Drive. Well, okay, I lived there only for one month. I moved out after I realized that the girls I was living with partied EVERY SINGLE DAY! Yes, that’s right: there was a party on Thurman Circle EVERY SINGLE DAY and not just my house.

Correction! The landlord kicked me out after I complained about these girls who partied every day, and left the house in a mess (like gross, rotten food mess). She said I wasn’t a “good fit.” Oh, I am sorry that I didn’t party every day, leave the house in a mess (like GARBAGE EVERYWHERE), and punch holes in the wall like the other girls. My landlord, before I moved in, told me the girls were “great” and “didn’t party.”

My friend who lived with me responded on my Facebook with this comment to the above link: I know right… they were unbearable… and she didn’t even do anything about the noise level… those kids were super messy too and had very little respect for other peoples property…… by the way did you get an email from the alumni association … apparently they are “trying” to save the image of the school so our reputations arn’t tarnished by it…HA yea right

I did feel bad for my friend, who was completing her last semester there and I suggested she move in with me. I had two semesters left and moved out after my landlord gave me the news. On that St. Paddy’s day, the whole street had a party. Fleming had a party and there were cops there on the street right around noon. I remember seeing the pictures and I remember my friend telling me about it. That was in 2010.

In 2011, the same thing happened.

The police frequented the area when I lived there for the whole month that I did live there. In fact, the police were at my residence (not for me *lol*) a total of two times in 4 weeks and I saw them frequent the area during the day, during the night. In addition to that, the cabbies wouldn’t even drive me into my street if I came home from a night out. Not because I didn’t pay or whatever, but because of their past experience with other people who lived in the area (remember the cabbie being taunted and rocked in his car that one year??).

Partying on St. Paddy’s day isn’t anything new. I don’t know why there was better planning for this area that is KNOWN for partying. Yes, even university students go to party there! Yes, that’s right Western students go there *SMH*

We are not all perfect little angels and when we all point the finger at each other saying “it’s that person’s fault” or “it should be this organization’s fault.” NOTHING and I REPEAT NOTHING gets done.

I noticed that I am reading a lot of “all students should be charged.” You know what, let the police handle that. People have suggested expulsion, suspension, etc. You know what, let the school handle that.

But I will give you my opinion having lived there, having graduated from that school, and with experience of the criminal justice system:
– Let the police do their job
– Let the police handle each case based on the individuals who are charged and on their past criminal record
– Let the police decide who to arrest
– Let the courts decide how to handle those who are charged
– If the school decides expulsion, they should plan to prevent this from happening in the future! Perhaps security in place that lives/monitors the area (oh wait, the police already do that).
– If we all just charge everyone and anyone who is seen in a picture, you have to realize that these young people will be living with a criminal record for the rest of their lives (okay, well except those that receive conditional or absolute discharges). Even if they are charged and sentenced to whatever type of punishment (fines, restitution, probation, etc), they will still be affected by having a criminal record. You want to say “well they deserve to pay!” well let the courts decide that.

But honestly, the last thing I would want is for a bunch of young people with criminal records or suspensions/expulsion from school. That type of punishment affects them in the long run. Will they be able to get a job? Be able to apply to another school? You say that was their decision to commit the crime. Honestly, in the long run, as tax paying citizens, we still have to pay if we all decide to commit to the idea that they should all be charged and expelled from school. When we just give up on our young, good or bad, we give up on our future.

Attawapiskat, Munsee-Delaware, London

What do these three places all have in common?

Housing issues.

If these places were to be placed on a continuum Attawapiskat would be at one end, London at the other and Munsee-Delaware Nation somewhere in the middle.

Attawapiskat, which I wrote about in a post over a YEAR AGO, is still facing the same issues they were a year ago. The difference? The media. Everyone wants to help which is good. However, what about Munsee-Delaware… what about them?

Munsee-Delaware is just west of London ON. They are facing a housing crisis too. LFpress wrote an article on this community’s issue on the same day another article discussed that London ON City Council would move “$1 million from London’s affordable-housing reserve to hold the line on taxes won’t cause problems for most Londoners.”

London ON is surrounded by many First Nations.

To view map, click HERE.

London ON actually reported the highest First Nations population numbers in the 2006 census.

In 2006, the total Aboriginal population was 3.8%. In Ontario, the total Aboriginal population was 2.0%. The total Aboriginal population in 2006 made up 1.4% of the city’s total population. From 2001, the Aboriginal population grew by 10% (the First Nations population grew by 4% and the Metis grew by 38%).

The Aboriginal population is young.The median age of Aboriginal population in London was 26.6 years, while non-Aboriginal population median age was 38.6 years for 2006. Nearly half of the Aboriginal people were under age 25 (48%), while only 32% of the non-Aboriginal population were under the age of 25. The Aboriginal population over the age of 65 was 3% of the total city’s population; meanwhile, the non-Aboriginal population over the age of 65 was 13%. Nearly 3/10 Aboriginal people in London were under the age of 15, compared to 18% of their non-Aboriginal counterparts.

The unemployment rate for Aboriginal people was 8.5% compared to 4.5% for the non-Aboriginal population. The occupied mostly sales and service jobs (jobs considered less stable and having less benefits). The unemployment rate was even higher for Aboriginals aged between 15-24 years. That rate was 19.8% for First Nations youth aged 15 to 24, 22.7% for Métis youth, and 13.5% for non-Aboriginal youth.

Aboriginal children under the age of 14 were most likely to be living with a lone parent.That means only one income coming in. Aboriginal children were more likely to live with a lone mother (43% vs 16%), a lone father (6% vs 3%), a grandparent (with no parent present) (1.4% vs 0.3%) or with another relative (1.4% vs 0.5%).

The Aboriginal population were less likely to be employed full-time with only 33% of the population employed full-time. While 40% of the non-Aboriginal population were employed full-time.

The houses that Aboriginal people lived in, 1/8 of the homes needed major repairs and 1/3 were living below the LICO line.

These rates are for the CMA for London ON.

Check out the full map, HERE.

No doubt that there is a housing issue in London ON alright. There is also a housing issue just west of London ON and a housing issue north of London ON.

If you want to care about Aboriginal issues, then care about Aboriginal issues, and not just the issues that get you the most face time in the media or the most public recognition for caring.

London Occupy Movement

Recently there was an event on income disparity in London ON. I chose not to go for 2 reasons:

  1. I had final exams
  2. I did not see any use in going to listen to people in suits speak on income disparity

Sure the work that is being done to raise awareness on income disparity is awesome. However, I can empathize with the last sentence of the article that I read today talking about the event highlighting income disparity.

The article reads, “Some also carried placard saying the Citizens Panel does not represent them.” Read the rest of the article HERE.

It was a nice event to have presenter’s in their suits and ties talking about income disparity. That is not the only thing I am upset about this event. It is because I saw an entire group of people within this city once supported and praised within the news but as soon as their fired died out and where was the support? That group being the occupy group of protesters (in the beginning anyways). Perhaps events like these are a way to keep that fire alive.

Keep in mind that when we speak of income disparity or social injustices, we must remember the intersection of race, gender, and class. Not just research reports and research findings.

Just as Bridget Todd says, “These attempts to bring race into the conversations taking place at various occupations are integral, as racial injustice and economic injustice go hand in hand.” To not talk about those intersecting factors is to forget about the main causes. Really, we can force all the tax breaks in the world on corporations but nothing will explain away discrimination, racism, etc.

To put it a bit in perspective, there is often a presentation of the example of non-Aboriginal researchers claim to help Aboriginal peoples when they “study” them. I am not saying that this is related to Aboriginal people or Indigenous issues but it is just to equate to another example to sort of put it in perspective. I am not speaking on behalf of the London Occupy Movement but in terms of my own interpretation of it. Perhaps it is ignorant or a bit blind sided. It is like those with the resources are the ones who are the knights in shining armour. If we just continue to talk about people who face social injustices/income disparity without really talking TO THEM then what good is the work that is being done?

At the end of it all, I am excited about the other events that follow this one. Check them out HERE.

Tales of Kwe’s Adventures in the Forest City

Yesterday I went on a little adventure. Okay, it wasn’t really an adventure it was more a walk on a paved bike bath in the bush over behind these soccer fields. I live in the city but not just any city THE Forest City aka London ON. You might ask yourself why it is called “Forest City”? Okay, maybe not. I didn’t even know it was called Forest City until 3 years after I lived here and I asked someone why it was called the Forest City. They just laughed at me and said “Look around you.” I looked around. I personally think it should be called “Tree City” or “City with lots of Trees, Bad Public Transit, and Sink Holes Downtown every 3 years-City.” Okay, maybe just Tree City. Really, there is no forest anywhere. That bush behind the soccer field isn’t really a real bush. I mean what kind of bush has a paved bike path in it?

What does this have to do with my adventures yesterday? Well, I went for that walk on that paved bike path in the bush behind those soccer fields located in Forest City looking for cedar. Cedar. What did I find? No cedar. Okay, I am lying a bit about that but you would think in a city also known as Forest City might have at least ONE cedar tree. Nope. It didn’t. Did I want to venture off the paved bike path and search for cedar. You would think that a Native girl who grew up on the rez and played in the bush (yes, the kind of bush with no paved bike paths) would be brave enough to go into the city bush. No, I am smarter than that. Really, I think city bush is more dangerous than rez bush. You have to watch out for REAL people who might be lurking in the city bush waiting to pounce on their next victim. Rez bush you just have to watch out for bears, wolves, and cougars… Oh my! And no, not the kind of cougars that you find in some city bars.

What did I lie about earlier? Well, there is cedar in this city and the only cedar I found was in my neighbours’ yards. I called my sister who lives in a bigger city and asked her if she thought it would be weird if I knocked on one of their doors asking if I could pick their cedar. She just laughed. Yeah, bad idea. Someone else just told me to just pick. WTF! Can you imagine the headlines on that: Local Indian Girl Caught Stealing Cedar From Neighbour’s Yard And Tries To Repay With Tobacco. Then Arrested. Yeah. Not. Good. I did notice that one neighbour had a cedar tree that sort of grew into the city bush and hung a bit over the fence. I thought to myself, “Maybe if I just take what I need by pulling that tree just a bit over the fence.” Still, a bad idea.

Then I remembered growing up on the rez back home that even the sage we used to pick didn’t even grow in our own yard. It grew on our non-Native, Christian’s neighbour yard. God bless him for letting 4 little Native girls go into his yard and pick it. On my walk, I noticed the only sage growing was in the local garden in the school yard.

Then I thought, “heck, not only did Canada colonize Native people, Canadians are now colonizing our traditional medicines.” Colonization, can you just stop it with the Native people please!

So, if you are reading this and live in London ON and you have cedar in your front yard, be on the look out for a Native girl coming to your yard to pick it… just kidding 😉 but if you do have some cedar in your yard and you’re not using it, can you kindly let me have some. I promise not to take the whole tree **teehee**

Seek Justice!

Today on my way home, I saw a girl wearing a shirt that read “Seek Justice” on the front and then on the sleeve was this website www.ijm.ca. So out of curiosity, I visited the site.

I found something very interesting and something that I am happy to have “accidentally” come across this site. Not happy in sense that what I read was “good light” reading but rather introduced to a bit of information when it comes to what goes on in other parts of the world especially when it concerns other young people (I knew that such items/topics/issues that this site discuss occurred but to read about the work being done and stories of success brought to me a level with a bit more awareness)

I found this article and this job posting on the site:

Racism in Canada

Racism doesn’t discriminate. Racism can affect anyone and the proof is in this article written by Glen Pearson, co-founder of Canadian Aid for Southern Sudan, co-director of the London Food Bank and a former MP.

This article is titled “Prejudice, even here in London

It was sad to read this article because someone decided to voice their opinion in a way that was unsuitable and in my opinion should have not been said at all. It was sad to read about this 2 men being verbally attacked by someone else in a public space. What is sad is that this sort of thing happens all the time and it shouldn’t.

I thought I would share this article in hopes that people will soon realize that prejudice, racism, stereotyping … all things discriminatory, do not discriminate: it can affect anyone, any place, any time.

Writing this I am reminded of an incident I witnessed. An organization who had claimed to be creating a project with partnership between itself and Aboriginal communities, it’s own employee had openly ridiculed one of the Aboriginal communities in it’s own office. What was even more sad about this, is that this person was considered “the face of the project” and had been described as a “visible minority” herself. It made me sad when I learned that she only had said this discriminatory comment out of frustration and it was just swept under the rug.

Just because you don’t say something racist, discriminatory, marginalizing or oppressive to someone who doesn’t hear it or who you can’t look directly in the face, does not make it (for lack of a better word) “correct.” Even individuals part of a visible minority group can discriminate or have discriminatory words or behaviours towards another visible minority group (which is sometimes even worse–the oppressed further oppressing another oppressed group.)

So please, next time you open your mouth to voice your opinion whether you think you are right or not, or whether it is out of pure frustration or not, does not make it right. Remember: All things discriminatory, do not discriminate: it can affect anyone, any place, any time.

#TheBlackKeys #JLCreviewer #ldnont

Yesterday I had the opportunity to see The Black Keys play last night at the John Labatt Centre (JLC) here in London ON. For free. Well, it came with a little twist or should I say a few little tweets 😉

It all started out on twitter. Yup you heard it. Good things can actually come out of social media happenings. I only say this partially because my sister likes to poke fun at me about my “twits” even though they are called “tweets.”

Anyways, I ended up being one of the #JLCreviewer winners. I was super stoked and yes, I even did a little happy dance which for the record is probably more better than my regular dancing skills. It was a good day that day.

This was my first and will definitely not be my last concert at the JLC. Personally, I thought it was a good venue, bathrooms and all. Plus, dudes took care of the winners–we were able to meet Cage The Elephant (Second big thanks goes out to FM 96 Rocks. You can check out their own contest winners and pix of the band HERE.) Free t-shirt and disc as well. Pretty cool…

After the concert, we decided to head down to the Black Shire pub, totally unrelated to The Black Keys, and someone asked me, “So, what is your review going to be about?” All I could say was “Well, I learned that they were from Ohio tonight.” Sure enough, some laughed. No big deal–what did they think my review was going to be about? Perhaps the bands I had just seen with them 😉

Then one said, “You can’t talk about Ohio…that’s not even a negative or a positive!” Trust me after working in the Tourism industry one summer and dealing with people from Ohio (even ask my 2 sisters who worked at the “Duty Free” store) not everything good comes out of Ohio. And, The Black Keys ARE EVERYTHING GOOD And even more…. So if I want to talk about Ohio in my review, I can and I believe I just did 😉

For a 2-man-band-group, The Black Keys are amazing. I started liking them after I heard “Tighten Up” on the radio. No, I wasn’t always a long time fan, but after this experience most definitely signed up to be one. The opening band–Cage The Elephant–was a big hit in my books anyways!

I will admit this was my first time ever hearing of them or their music. That aside, I thought Cage The Elephant was a great choice for opening band for The Black Keys. They were able to rev up the crowd with their songs and body surfing that Matt did (Even though he said he wouldn’t after FM 96 asked if he would do… fooled ya **hehe**). You can check out Cage The Elephant website HERE.

As for the main attraction, The Black Keys, I would definitely see this band again. Even if they came again on a Tuesday night (Apparently some were complaining that it should have been on a weekend night. Sure if you want to drink, get drunk, and be hung over and not work the next day–but that’s not my style) As a huge live-music junkie, I would see them on a Sunday, a Monday, a Tuesday… and a….I am sure you get my point. They are just that good. They played the songs that almost everyone knew: “Tighten up” and “Howlin’ For You.” And another one of my favs “The Only One” and “Ten Cent Pistol.”

Okay, okay, not gonna lie, all their songs on their album “Brothers” (2010) are my fav but not gonna list all the songs they did play because

  1. You should just go see them for yourself or at least invest in some of their albums if not all.
  2. In the meantime, check out The Black Keys’ website HERE

Their encore was pretty sweet too. Lights that flashed “Black Keys” simultaneously caused the crowd to chant “Black….Keys.” They came out to play 2 more songs. Sinister Kid and I can’t remember the second one.

This was overall an amazing experience. Thanks to JLC (Chris Campbell), and FM96Rocks for this experience.

The only “bad” thing: I didn’t like Cage The Elephant’s interview (Not the live acoustic part because that was amazing…I just wasn’t a big fan of their responses or maybe it was the questions that they were asked?!) I could say they could brush up on their interview skills but they are musicians making music not musicians making interviews.

Oh and if you think me talking about Ohio in my review is bad. You should check out my joke about Ohio:
Question: What’s round on the outside and high in the middle? Answer: OHIO!
Hey, didn’t say I was a comedian 😉


Other reviews

Check out Phronk’s review HERE.
Check out Amanda’s review HERE.
Check out Laura’s review HERE.

Cute Girl at the Salon

Today I received two tweets mentioning me on twitter. They both said:

So and so and @naomisayers00 got mentions today in @themetrolondon

Or something close to that…

So, I went to the metronews.ca/london website to see what I tweeted that was printed in London ON newspaper. What was tweeted? My tweet that read:

Getting nails did. Same salon. Same cute girl. Lovely Sunday. #ldnont

Who is the girl that did my nails? Well, her English name is “Mimi.” This is the second time she has done my nails. I liked it the way it was done the first time, so I went back for a second time.

This time, I wanted had a bit more conversation with her. I found out she works 7 days a week. Yes, that’s 7 days. No weekend off. Although she would like to go to Niagara Falls, but as she said… “She has to work.”

She works full-time shifts (That means open to close, every single day of the week). She says she likes work but I am not sure if she is just told to say that…because when I was her age (She is much younger than me. That’s 4 years younger), I know that I wasn’t working 7 days a week…

She also told me she had family in Vietnam. She misses them and loves them. Maybe someone might say that I shouldn’t be writing about this but I wanted to share this–because well, it really bothers me when I see individuals like her who come to Canada, work in the service industry, and get treated horribly by their customers. Some people need to realize that some people have no choice for their job and how many hours they work. They. Have. To. Do. It.

After learning about her story, it made me wonder if she was here because she wanted to be or …. was that a different story all together? Hmmmm…

PS. Readers, next time you decide to *bitch* out someone for the services they provide…try to consider their life for one second before you worry about how *bad* your nails were did or how *awful* your car wash was… Really.

London’s East Side

After searching for another article completely unrelated to drugs/drug-use, I came across this article in the Globe and Mail search results titled “On London’s east side, OxyContin is King”

One of the reasons brought up as to what caused this drug to be “king” is that well… it is being over-prescribed.

“Through over-prescribing, the public-health system is actively, if inadvertently, creating thousands upon thousands of drug addicts. And it’s flooding the streets with the pills to feed those addictions.”

Simple enough answer. Blame the public-health system.

There are some suggestions that Deb Matthews brought up in the article to tackle this drug issue. Some of the things she suggested are:

Education:

  • Enlighten health professionals on what they’re dealing with
  • set clear guidelines for when and how much to prescribe and dispense
  • then trust them to make the right decisions.(Don’t we already “trust” the healthcare professionals to make the “right” decisions presently?!)

Then it was brought up that the problem could be the persistence of the addicts themselves. But that’s what everyone does already–blame the addict.

Then further in the article it was mentioned that the “integrated addiction strategy seems to have strong support from the municipal government.” The strategy offers everything from shelter, to counselling, to harm reduction. Oh but wait, there is still lack of support from the federal and provincial levels. Then, spots in rehab-clinics are rare because of certain rules that one must abide by before even entering (even if it is just for one night). And the lack of support for mental health services or affordable housing.

This article is good in a sense that it talked about everything that is wrong except for one thing–it is much easier to get drugs than it is to get any of the other services that an addict wants to use to get clean.

Have to be clean for 72 hours before sleeping in an overnight bed? That’s 3 days. 3 days in Candy Land is a pretty long time.

Have to have no criminal record or be using illegal drugs to use out-patient mental health services at Old Vic hospital? And, that’s only if you make it past the screening process (See no criminal record and no use of illegal drugs–but sometimes isn’t that the cause of mental health issues–illegal drug use?). Oh can’t forget, most importantly, that’s only if you can make it to your initial appointment.

And to have issues like the girl mentioned in the article — prostituting in East London. Taking abuse from Johns. Being angry with her doctor. Sucked back in through her circle of friends. For some drug use helps to make certain pain or emotions disappear. For others, it is the only thing they know. For some, they don’t want to know any better.

So really, what is the problem with “London’s East Side” … even when the London Police Services (with its fancy-schmatsy new building) is right at the heart of London’s East Side.

Maybe it is an array of all those problems listed in the article, and maybe its few confusing solutions (Education? For what–to trust our health-care professionals to make the correct decisions–something that we are supposed to trust them to do already). Or maybe, some people just fail to realize that yup, drugs are easy to get and a drug addict can and will get drugs where ever and when ever they can. Sure some will do whatever it takes to get the drugs. But what about the fact that some of the solutions already put in place, are that much more difficult to attain or acquire access too (Like those 24 hour beds, wherein someone has to be 72-hours clean).

In reality, for some, the door and desire to get clean sometimes is a small one and can close very quickly. In my opinion, the problem exists not only with lack of services (ie-mental health) but the abundance of tape that one must cut through just to even get help… even if it is only for 24-hours.