I was both thrilled and disappointed by WW's cover story ["Who Wants to Save a Junkie," March 6, 2013]. First, I'd like to applaud Sen. Alan Bates [introducing] Senate Bill 384 to make Narcan widely available. This vital public-health tool, and the important overdose-response training that will come with it, will inarguably save lives across Oregon.
With regards to the tone of the article, I'd like to point out that Oregonians who use drugs WW refers to as "junkies" represent valuable, irreplaceable members of our community. Drug addiction robs people of the opportunity to live full, healthy and happy lives. These Oregonians are members of our families and are counted among our neighbors and friends.
The article highlights three individuals who [recently] died of overdoses in Jackson County, detailing that they were all the sons of respected community members (physician, actor, blues musician). These individuals' lives matter, especially to their families and their friends. Saving their lives is important.
I'm a former opiate user (23 years clean), and one whose treatment included a Narcan-induced detox. While I wasn't in OD-mode when I received Narcan, it was instrumental in helping to flush the opiates out of my system. That one time, that is.
Unfortunately, even with Narcan—and the six months of inpatient treatment at one of the leading (at the time) drug-treatment centers in the Portland area—I still went back to using opiates. Ultimately, if the addict isn't ready to quit, no amount of treatment will be of any use to them.
"Drug users should have no fewer rights to have their health and welfare protected than anyone else." No, sorry, you have the right to protect your own health and welfare, it is not up to society to protect it for you. It's called "free will," and most long-term addicts have "died" a handful of times. Now you want everyone else to pay for it?
BRIDGE, YES; LIGHT RAIL, NO
Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center, Wash.) is calling "bullshit" on the [Columbia River Crossing] project because it is an Oregon-contrived "solution" to an interstate traffic problem that reaches far beyond Portland and Vancouver ["Bridge End," WW, March 6, 2013].
The cost to interstate trucking traffic alone must be in the tens of millions of dollars annually because of Portland's 1917- and 1958-vintage bridges on I-5. Dump the light-rail extension, and build the bridge!
Build the bridge, yes please! But Portland, you can keep your scuzzy drug dealers and transients. I, along with many other Vancouver residents, don't want that crap in my neighborhood. Please, no light rail.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR must include the author's street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words.
Submit to: 2220 NW Quimby St., Portland, OR 97210.
Fax: (503) 243-1115, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org