On Tuesday May 25, the COVID-19 report detailed BC’s “restart plan.” If all goes well, everyday life will “return to normal” by September. For many of our most vulnerable citizens, normal is far from safe, as seen in the opioid death statistics reported May 27.
Statistics are not personal, life stories are. Those life stories will tell you that 18% of those who were killed from an opioid overdose are Indigenous. We need to stop and realize the significance that 4% of our general population is 4.5 times more likely to be killed by an overdose. Bruce Cockburn’s 1983 lyrics, “the local third world’s kept on reservations you don’t see” are a prophetic reminder that “normal” is not safe for far too many of our Indigenous, Métis and Inuit brothers and sisters.
We need to work to provide environments that include stable housing, income and food security. These kinds of environments, along with 4 Pillar-like programs can be movements that support the work of healing, recovery and new life.
The past sixteen months have not been easy ones for so many people. The losses of life, opportunities, jobs and hopes have been overwhelming for so many. In our eagerness to “return to normal” may we continue to care and support others beyond ourselves.