Toxic drug deaths: An appeal from Joe’s Mom
In March 2020, the BC government declared a public health emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to implement “any provincial emergency measures required to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of an emergency.” Since then, 1,355 British Columbians have tragically lost their lives to pandemic. However, the recent development of a vaccine gives us hope that the end is near.
In April 2016, the BC government declared a public health emergency in response to the significant rise in overdose deaths. Since then, there have been over 5,000 overdose deaths in British Columbia, and in 2020, a record 1,716 lost their lives to the opioid crisis, and there is no end in sight.
One of those lives lost was that of my son, Joe Bauman who, prior to his death, tirelessly advocated for improved community services and livable, affordable housing in Maple Ridge as he, himself, was homeless.
However, I, and the BC Coroner’s Office, strongly disagree with the popular determination that my son’s death was caused by “overdose.” Joe never used opioids — ever. He used methamphetamine which he found helped counteract the negative effects of attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), so the fact that his blood toxicity level found a lethal amount of fentanyl shows that the methamphetamine he took on the day of his death was poisoned with fentanyl.
Joe’s cause of death was poisoning due to a toxic drug supply, poison that runs rampant in the illicit drug supply. Where are the “emergency measures required to prevent, respond to or alleviate” the effects of this emergency?
We must act now — not by decriminalizing drug possession which will do nothing to prevent deaths due to a toxic drug supply, but by legalizing and regulating the use of street drugs. Do not allow stigma and fear to stand in the way of taking the action needed to allow us to save lives and start the healing.
Unfortunately, it will be too late for me and my son. Joe is gone. And that is my pain to bear. And if our federal government continues to ignore this crisis, more lives will be lost, and their loved ones will bear the pain of that loss. They are us — our family members, our friends, our loved ones — and I will remain vigilant in my attempts to effect the change that will spare them my fate.
Joe’s Mom, Joyce Bunge, Oliver, B.C.
Racism and the gang mentality
I am appalled that in our community of Kimberley we are seeing blatant racist slurs directed at young people.
As a senior living in Townsite I have been subjected to several attempted forced entries in the form of aggressive banging on glass doors and windows. I have also witnessed rocks being thrown at the house.
These are not isolated incidents directed at me. There have been several incidents reported over the last 12 days.These violations occur between 8 pm and 2 am.
These are individuals aged from 14 to 20, usually six in a group with an obvious gang mentality.
These cowardly acts are directed at seniors and women. We have asked for more of a police presence.The police say this is difficult because they have to cover a large area.
Where are the parents? What about police liaison with the schools? What are the community responsibilities?
This needs to be addressed and dealt with before it escalates and someone gets hurt.
No one wants to live in a community that condones racism and allows seniors to be tormented by a group of thugs.
MariAnn (last name withheld for privacy reasons)
To all Cranbrook citizens concerned with animal abuse:
Once again, the snow has melted to reveal a sea of feces on my lawn left by herds of scruffy semi domesticated deer. I am saddened as I watch them eat shrubs double sprayed with expensive deer repellant and gnawing at supposedly “deer resistant” plants. Once the grass begins to green this spring there will be dead patches in the lawn from deer urinating on it. I watch as yet another deer defecates on my lawn while in the same frame my neighbour dutifully picks up after her small dog because, after all, dog poop has germs, right? We certainly do not tolerate dogs or cats defecating all over our town. Why deer?
I see deer wander aimlessly through town being nearly struck by vehicles or moving on when people chase them off their yards. I have seen them challenge people walking their small dogs in our neighbourhood. I have heard the hapless fawns calling for their mothers who have jumped an obstacle too high for the little ones to cross leaving them stranded behind a fence. I have seen injured deer limping yard to yard in search of food with no one to help. I watch the breeding herds rove through our neighbourhood each autumn, angry bucks raking their antlers on our trees and daring us to come too close.
As a long-time Cranbrook resident, I am appalled that the deer continue to be allowed to be “born and bred” in town to an unnatural existence of pavement and shrubbery. They have no clue to life as wild animals when born into such an environment. I am going to say it out loud, even “put it in writing” that to let this continue is animal abuse!
Why does our provincial government let this continue? Why not do the safe and humane thing by culling the deer to stop the cycle? We could then deal with the few truly wild ones that enter town on a relocation per case basis?
Duane Yearous, Cranbrook
Attention BCTS Planning Forester:
I have known Kootenay Lake and in particular the Kaslo area since the late 1950s when I was a child camping with my parents. I continued this tradition for almost 20 years with my own children until they left home but my wife and I still holiday in the Kaslo area up to the present day.
In my late teens and early 20s, I also fought fires for the BC Forest Service in the Kaslo and Lardeau areas as well as around Castlegar.
I live in Cranbrook now, but I plan to retire soon in Kaslo.
I’ve provided this information to let you know how much I care about this area and why I’m totally opposed to the logging plans BC Timber Sales has for the areas of Mt. Loki, Hawkins Creek and Sproule Creek. I tried to get mapping details of the logging, but the email you provided for this purpose didn’t connect for me.
Regardless of this, I remain opposed to any logging within sight of Kootenay Lake because industry has already extensively logged both sides of the lake and any more clear-cut logging along the lake will greatly diminish the value of the lake for the tourist industry and the people who live in this special spot that is renowned world-wide for its beauty, biological diversity, fishing, agricultural and recreational values.
At the very least, I think a moratorium should be placed on Kootenay Lake logging until a plan is developed which would categorize all the values provided by the Kootenay Lake region including timber to ensure that a balance is reached that would be fair and beneficial to all.
As you must know, the provincial government hasn’t acted yet on the 14 recommendations of its own report on Old Growth logging. Kootenay Lake would be a good place to start.
Gerry Warner, Cranbrook