LETTER: Chronic pain and overdoses: young men need help

From reader Cathy Scott-May

As we struggle to understand the roots of the fentanyl crisis, we might consider that four out of five deaths from fentanyl last year were males. Why? Researchers suggest that more males use harder drugs and do so alone, leaving them without help if they overdose.

By many measures, men hold most of the power in society, yet all is not well in the kingdom of males. In addition to deaths from fentanyl, most alcohol dependent people are males, over 75 per cent of people without homes are male, and 80 per cent of suicide deaths are males.

Unless we understand the real complexity of the situation, the fentanyl crisis will continue as a tragic symptom of a larger malaise.

Researchers suggest that the path to fentanyl for many males is linked to pain resulting from injuries in the workplace, through sports or other physical pursuits, but also mental and emotional trauma.

Chronic pain in young males is, unfortunately, something our family has come to know a lot about but fortunately our son shuns all use of drugs. It has been shocking to learn that many other families in our area have quietly struggled to support a young male plagued by chronic pain.

Why had we not heard of this? And why in 2017 do we so often hear — including from some health care professionals — that young males can tough it out?

Having supported male youth leadership initiatives, I learned that some within our schools, community organizations and businesses are uncomfortable with an exclusive focus on males. Female-specific programs are more accepted and continue to be needed.

The fentanyl crisis, however, shows our community needs to examine our attitudes towards, and support for, males.

There is an immediate need to save the lives of those who overdose on fentanyl, compassionately support addicts and educate recreational drug users. Tragically, many who survive a fentanyl overdose will experience brain damage, which only compounds their problems and creates a huge burden for society.

To break the cycle will require, among other things, supporting conversations about what is happening with males in our society.

Cathy Scott-May


Just Posted

BREAKING: Man pleads guilty in Baker Street death

Miles Halverson is guilty of manslaughter in the death of Matt Reeder

Nelson to hold open house on Railtown development

City will present plans and ask for input on specific areas of Railtown

Rossland chocolatier plans move to cannabis edibles

Council approves zoning change to accomodate processing facility

Nelson climate change strike set for Sept. 20

The strike marks the start of a week of related events

October is Plastic Free Month in Nelson

City will examine its own plastic use and encourage public to do the same

VIDEO: Grad classes separated by 65 years find shared hopes, fears

The Nelson High School class of 1954 met with current L.V. Rogers Grade 12 students

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

B.C. bus crash survivor petitions feds to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

UPDATE: Police probe third threat against a Kamloops high school in eight days

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

Charges dropped against Mountie involved in shooting death of Surrey man

‘I feel like I’ve lost Hudson all over again,’ says mom

B.C. Interior caribou protection area big enough, minister says

Proposals sparked protest in Kootenays, Williams Lake region

Two B.C. women selected to compete on ABC’s The Bachelor

Mykenna Dorn and Alexis Thind will compete for bachelor Peter Weber’s heart

Most Read