Revy Let’s Talk: Cocaine, harm reduction and stigma. Oh my!

Stacie Byrne is the project lead for Revelstoke’s Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Abuse Local Action Team. (Submitted)

Story submitted anonymously to Stacie Byrne for this column.

Cocaine is my friend. It’s my release. It’s my reward.

But is it my addiction?

It’s my go to when I’m happy, partying, wanting to stay awake, never wanting the fun to end because I am finally laughing and enjoying life while surrounded by friends.

But I’m trying to cut back on that because of a tainted drug supply.

I’m not gonna lie…life without it isn’t great. It’s lonely. It’s hard to see my old friends.

I laugh, but it doesn’t last as long. I work and try to distract myself.

Sometimes I just go to bed and sleep off the craving and depression. Or I stare at my phone and scroll through the deep pit of social media.

I’m supposed to keep myself busy, but I don’t really have any hobbies and have lost my social circle.

Society has confused what’s legal with what’s moral. I’m not a bad person because I use cocaine. But when some people who know about my substance use talk to me, it feels different.

Like they feel sorry for me or I’m a bad person that they want nothing to do with. But not everyone’s story looks like mine.

Not all people who use substances end up in addiction. Not all people who use substances stay alive. Not all people who die from overdose were addicted.

Substance use and addiction isn’t a choice or a sign of poor self-control and a human flaw.

There are biological, psychological and social factors that all play a role in addiction. Please, educate yourself and use respectful language.

Check out the Canadian Association of People who use Drugs who fight for the decriminalization of drug use.

I have so much I want to do. So much I want to share with the world.

It is hard work; all the time swimming up stream. Sometimes I think I might use again if it was in front of me.

I don’t think that makes me a bad person and I still deserve good things in life.

As long as I hold on just long enough to see another day then there’s a chance that things will get better.

If you are using, be safe and never use alone. Use the harm reduction supports and Naloxone kits from Public Health at Queen Victoria Hospital. Jo-Ann is really great and easy to talk to.

Talk to your doctor, educate yourself on safe use, find your nearest drug testing facility.

Online resources like Toward the Heart, and ANKOR – harm reduction videos make the information easy to understand. Stop Overdose BC has videos and information including “How do you support someone who doesn’t want help?” and “responding when someone reaches out.”

Find more resources at www.RevelstokeCYMHSU.ca and connect with a local support through www.RevelstokeLife.ca.

Stacie Byrne is the Project Lead for the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use (CYMHSU) Local Action Team, which is a part of a larger Provincial Collaborative working together to support people between the ages of 6-24 years old and their families with mental health and substance use challenges.

The Collaborative works with Service Providers and the community to share how all of the pieces of the recovery puzzle fit together and what is available within and outside of Revelstoke. Stacie is always looking for people’s stories to share.

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