Lake doesn't deserve all the blame for overdose crisis

Two & Out
By James Peters
September 23, 2016 - 11:44am Updated: September 23, 2016 - 5:20pm

KAMLOOPS — It's natural that, in a public health emergency like the one BC faces with fentanyl, critics are looking for someone to blame.

For many, Terry Lake is directly and solely in the crosshairs.

It's not totally justified, though.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and that same village is responsible for making sure people aren't falling through the cracks.

The sheer force of a single person's addiction is far stronger than any government ministry can counter. 

It takes the health ministry to provide prevention, treatment, and recovery services, certainly, and Lake can do a better job there. 

But it also takes the ministry of public safety and the ministry of justice to ensure the borders are secure and the drug manufacturers responsible for cutting their product with this deadly agent are prosecuted and imprisoned. 

It takes the ministry of housing and the ministry of social development to ensure fewer and fewer people live their lives in a constant state of desperation. 

It takes the ministry of education and advanced education to help people gain the skills that will help give their lives purpose and help them maintain a stable source of income. 

Those ministries must also ensure the doctors we train aren't lazily prescribing opiates to people who will end up hooked on them. 

And it takes the Premier to provide the leadership for all these ministries to get the job done.

Of course, there is also a significant responsibility to society, aside from government, to ensure our loved ones aren't falling through the cracks. 

Lake should accept his fair share of the blame for issues like the training and recruitment of both general practitioners and specialists, and the disappearance of basic health services in rural communities. 

But when people are dying unnecessarily, there is plenty of blame to be thrown around. 

It shouldn't all rest on Lake and his ministry.