Letters, week of April 6

Doctor responds with facts about use of methadone clinics

Sir: Re: the March 23 letter “Methadone clinics used to segregate addicts from others.”

Mr. Roach must believe he has some expertise given he feels qualified to “set the record straight” about methadone clinics. We are told he knows one person with opioid use disorder (OUD) and one person who makes at least part of his income selling illicit substances.

Mr. Roach seems more earnest than knowledgeable. It may be useful for your readers to consider the following.

Addiction treatment facilities including methadone clinics are there to help people. Some clinics are better than others.

Methadone may only be prescribed by physicians that have had special training and have a federal and provincial exemption to prescribe methadone. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) prohibit those without the exemption to provide this treatment.

The vast majority of our patients are good people by any definition, 75% are opiate free and getting on with life. They are working or at school, rebuilding relationships and are contributing to society. They are people with a bad disease, not bad people. They have worked hard to improve their lives.

With respect to segregation at addiction clinics – most of my patients are seen only once per month. Does this segregate them? They still go to their family doctor for their other medical needs.

The letter writer suggests drug dealers roam our clinics. At our clinic only our patients or their support group our allowed inside. Anyone else is asked to leave immediately. We strive to provide a safe environment for our patients.

I do agree that there is some discrimination towards those afflicted. It is an unfair and unhelpful stigma that people with addictions face. However, disparaging the facilities and people that help those affected with this complex chronic disease is very unhelpful.

When discussing addiction we must use facts, not alternative facts.  It is in this way that we can help prevent marginalization of people that have struggled with substance use disorders. Fact – every medical licensing body in the Western world and the World Health Organization consider opioid replacement therapy to be the “standard of care” for OUD.

Delmar Donald MD CCSAM
Bluewater Methadone Clinics


 

Showing support for local events is critical to their success

Sir: Kudos to columnists Steph Black and Michael Clark and to S.E. Grimshaw’s excellent letter in response to their column.

I stand in solidarity with Steph and Michael’s sentiments and I thank S.E. Grimshaw for explaining some of the many challenges organizing committees face as they try to execute successful events in our community.

As a long serving member of the “Jazz and Blues in the Village” festival committee, I can state irrevocably that it is very frustrating to work long and hard on an event only to see it poorly supported.

Or worse, after spending a small fortune on advertising, to hear, “I have never heard of “Artzscape” or “Jazz & Blues in the Village.”

I would like to add one more observation to this discussion. With regard to the two, aforementioned, events, as well as many other local events, the funds raised stay in our community. Which is your community.

Pathways Health Centre for Children provides support and services to our local children, youth and young adults with physical, developmental and communication needs. As well as some specialized services for adults.

For fourteen years, Jazz & Blues in the Village has been bringing the best party in town to Sarnia and is a fundraiser for SODA (Sarnia Organ Donor Awareness group). SODA is proudly local and dedicated to spreading awareness of the need for organ and tissue donation, and to provide support for organ and tissue recipients. I am very proud of the fact that all monies raised stay in Sarnia-Lambton.

So fellow citizens of Sarnia-Lambton, I encourage you to become aware of what is going on in your community and to get out there and support us.

When you do, we are all winners!

Sincerely,

Claudette Gasbarini
Festival Coordinator, Jazz and Blues in the Village


 

Wilma McNeill a tireless defender of Remembrance Day

Sir: I was a bit surprised but pleased to see the question about Wilma McNeill in your March 23 trivia challenge.

This lady deserves to be recognized and commended for her tenacity and dedication to devote 27 years of her life to reinstating Nov. 11 as a statutory holiday.

Over the years Wilma has written countless letters, collected petitions, met with members of government federal and provincial, and has inspired thousands of supporters coast to coast across Canada in supporting her cause.

In 1982 the Bill Davis government took away the statutory status, and the Royal Canadian Legion has been campaigning against the Remembrance Day holiday for over 40 years.

Nov. 11 is not to remember war, but to pay tribute and honour to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Hopefully, this year, Nov. 11 will be returned to its rightful, statutory Remembrance Day.

Thank you, Wilma.

Respectfully,

Kathleen Hayes
Sarnia


 

Pathway in Canatara Park a hazard in need of repair

Sir: Canatara Park is an incredible asset to all residents of Sarnia-Lambton.

We are fortunate to be able to access a free park that includes incredible scenery, beaches, playgrounds and, of course, the Children’s Animal Farm. Thousands access the park twelve months of the year.

I ask all residents to urge City Hall to immediately repair the walking path that circles Lake Chipican, especially the corridor running east and west between the Animal Farm and Cathcart Boulevard entrance.

This walking path is full of divots, potholes, puddles and uneven pavement and is extremely dangerous for walkers, runners, toddlers and seniors.

If the budget is a problem (as it always is) I am sure there would be enough residents willing to purchase benches and sponsor stretches of the walkway to offset the cost.

Please write or call city councillors and advocate for the repairs. We all deserve a safe and accessible path in Canatara Park.

Kirsten K. Holmes
Sarnia