Photo: March 2018
Dear Paul James Supporters,
I would like to thank those persons who have supported the Paul James social justice cause without prejudice, second thought or stigmatized judgment but rather an eagerness and open mindedness to understand substance use and substance disability in a more progressive, pragmatic and correct way.
Even though many supporters remain quiet, the support which is there, is appreciated.very much.
The repercussions from the stigma of drug addiction are a pervasive and highly destructive man-made social phenomenon which, without understanding and change, will “blindly” continue to perpetuate unnecessary suffering behind closed doors, overdose mortalities, and an annual economic burden at a rate already into the billions of dollars.
From the paralysis which prevents a person seeking support at the genesis of harmful use to the prevalent discrimination and prejudice once a substance disability is exposed the need for human rights protection, correct non-stigmatized education to the masses along with the elimination of bad politics on the health issue itself, all, are paramount for improvement of living with substance use and disability in a better, less destructive way.
Of course, political decriminalization and legitimization from the Supreme Court of Canada clarifying substance disability as a bonafide health condition, remain the fulcrums to blanketed progress, the latter of which could be achieved from the Paul James discrimination claim before the Canadian courts.
From the "ad-hoc research” the Paul James story has engineered, Canadian citizens while in general still stigmatized on the social phenomena, have nevertheless given clear indications why change is needed but also, beginning to take place.
Here are a few observations:
Substance use, disability issues whether directly or indirectly impact everyone at some point in their lives.
"We do not know what to do" is a thought which resonates from coast to coast once people encounter problems, in large part because of the fear of opening up to others - the most direct negative consequence of stigma.
The stigma of substance disability to not do something is paralyzing and profound. Citizens want to know what to do without it leading to being ostracized and discriminated against, which in most instances makes their lives worse than when they sought assistance in the first place. .
The current industry information disseminated to the masses and the criminalized approach of people directly affected by substance issues are rightfully being questioned and condemned as to their validity, effectiveness, and morality.
Much of the information which is disseminated and delivered to persons seekng assistance is counter-productive, inadequate and not helpful.
Canada’s younger generations are more informed on substance use issues and as a consequence less judgemental towards those who encounter issues or who reach the diagnosed level.
There is significant social science research which has to be completed to corroborate the true impact and consequences of the stigma of substance disability on individuals, family’s, organizations and society as a whole. The failure in the past to do so, is an important contributor to Canada’s current opioid and substance use crisis in general.
To not invest into research on the stigma of substance use and disability into the future, would be a repeated unacceptable mistake.
Thank you again to the Paul James supporters for your contributions to the cause, to the research which has taken place and again for the support you have provided to myself as a person.