The co-founder of a network of mothers whose children have died from drug overdoses says she wants to speak with Conservative leader Pierre Poilever about his opposition to prescribing a safe supply of opioids to addicts.
Leslie McBain, of the group Moms Stop the Harm, joined other advocates and Green Party MPs at a news conference on Tuesday, saying she wanted to tell Poilievre that she believes offering alternatives to drugs is important. Action saves lives.
“I’ve asked that we talk so we can understand each other’s perspectives and hopefully find some common ground, but he hasn’t responded,” said McBain, whose son died in 2014. An overdose resulted in death.
“I think it’s really, really important, the fact that he hasn’t responded. I’m not sure what they mean by stopping safe supply. It doesn’t make sense to us.
Poilievre’s office did not directly answer whether he planned to meet with McBain or other members of the group, but in a statement a spokesman said the Conservative leader had “met with many Canadians who are intoxicated.” suffering and recovering, as well as their families and support systems, to hear for the first time about their fight.”
Sebastian Schemsky also said the meetings are aimed at “better understanding how a common-sense conservative government can bring loved ones home drug-free.”
“This includes Trudeau’s first and foremost ending taxpayer funding that is flooding our streets with cheap opioids and diverting all funds to addiction, treatment and recovery programs.”
McBain said she plans to contact Poilievre again this week while in Ottawa, but is doubtful she will receive a response.
After the death of her son, Jordan Miller, McBain worked with several other families to form the group, which officially launched in 2016.
A mission statement on its website reads that it advocates ending what it calls “a failed war on drugs” in favor of one that involves families in “evidence-based prevention, treatment and “change in policy”.
For McBain and others, that includes offering what’s commonly known as a “safe supply” or “safe supply” of opioids to people struggling with addiction, even though federal Conservatives and other critics dispute the term, given the inherent dangers associated with the drug
Drug policy experts and advocates say such measures are needed to curb the supply of toxic drugs, which they say are one of the leading causes of overdose deaths in the country.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, from 2016 to 2022, nearly 35,000 people died from opioid poisoning.
Poilievre has said such policies are dangerous, arguing that they lead to highly addictive drugs that make their way into the wider community and perpetuate addiction rather than treatment and recovery. He also vowed to sue pharmaceutical companies for prescribing powerful opioids to doctors and using the money to fund treatment programs.
Poilievre recently asked the House of Commons to reject a failed policy of federally funding the supply of pharmaceutical alternatives, such as hydromorphone, to certain illegal drugs to combat the opioid crisis.
The Greens joined the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois on Monday in voting against a Conservative motion that sought to condemn the Trudeau government’s drug use and drug addiction.