Woman, Independent Parent, Artist, Advocate, Artifical Pancreas.... and EVERYTHING in between.

I am blessed to be parenting two beautiful girls, ages eight and eleven. My youngest nearly lost her life at age six (August 2010) to diabetic ketoacidosis: an often fatal consequences of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. This is OUR journey: raw and sometimes, uncensored.

Thank you for visiting wishing good health and a cooperative pancreas to you and yours.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

All Or Nothing?

Allow me to caution you.... this post likely WILL ruffle some feathers. Hey, I warned you!

I'd like to touch on the topic of free needles. Specifically: the ire of diabetics or people raising little diabetics, that we must pay for our medical supplies, when intravenous drug users receive free needles and methadone in British Columbia.

Yes, when you are paying for syringes, I imagine this would be frustrating.  But are we honestly suggesting that intravenous drug users should NOT receive clean needles?  Or are we suggesting that because drug users receive clean syringes, we too should receive clean syringes?

If we were to stop doing needle exchanges: what do you think our sidewalks would look like?  I'm all for giving clean needles upon the exchange of used ones, in an effort to keep the province cleaner AND healthier.

Clean syringes for drug users is a very complicated situation, which I don't think we really give much thought to the different aspects, before getting all up in arms in support of loved ones living with type 1 diabetes.

Intravenous drug users receive clean syringes at the cost of tax payers, to prevent the spread of disease such as HIV, Hepatitis B or C. 

Many will say that drug users had a choice as to whether to use or not. Type 1 diabetics do not. Perhaps, once upon a time, but if you're at the point where you're injecting heroin into your vein, that original choice doesn't matter much anymore.  Further, talk to an addict: explore the reasons WHY they turned to drugs to begin with. It's usually a form of self-medicating because help for an original problem was not available. Usually, and yes, I'm generalizing and stereotyping here for a moment: if you have turned to intravenous drugs.... you have somewhere along the line been failed. Perhaps by your family, your community, the Ministry of Children and Families, the list goes on and on.
So are you honestly suggesting that because there was once upon a time, a "choice" that they should not be supplied clean needles? Alright. So type 1 diabetics did not have a choice in the cross that they bear. Where will we draw that line.  What about insulin dependent type 2 diabetics that acquired the disease because of poor lifestyle. Shall we give type 1 diabetics free needles because they "didn't have a choice" but penalize type 2 diabetics because they made a "poor choice" that had health consequences?  Or shall we just start depositing free bags of syringes on EVERY doorstep in British Columbia?

Why does the type 1 diabetic community consider free needles as "rewarding" addicts, when in fact, the province is desperately trying to stop an outbreak of disease?

I don't know about you, but I think type 1 diabetes is enough for my child to live with. If supplying clean needles to an addict reduces her chance of somehow contracting something even worse: I'm all for it.

Further, let's touch for a moment on the lifestyle of an intravenous drug addict.  Many of them are homeless. Hungry. Dirty. Isolated. Judged.

My eight year old type 1 diabetic at times, has a hard life. But she has moments of buoyancy to carry her through. She is surrounded by a loving family, a stable home. She does not have to rummage through a dumpster for that day's meal. She does not have to stand in line only to receive three day old piece of bread and a bowl of soup. 

In closing, I can understand the frustration of a parent having to pay for syringes, I truly can. But we can't in one breath complain about taxes, and then in the next breath demand we receive free syringes. I'm certain that if an intraveneous drug user was fully functional and earned 50,000 a year, they'd probably buy their own too.

Can we pause, take a deep breathe, and ask ourselves: are we honestly suggesting that the unmet or unjust needs of one niche population SERIOUSLY discount the needs of another?

Yes. My eight year old has it rough sometimes.  But I wouldn't wish her the life of an addict on the streets for anything.  I don't understand this: us or them  opinions that are being voiced angrily.

Hey. I warned you: this post would likely ruffle some feathers.  So.... did I ruffle yours?


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