Editorial: Sober cyclist reminds us that addiction recovery is possible

Consider how much poorer all of us would be without Matthew Fee

Matthew Fee reminds us all that addiction recovery is possible.

Earlier, we brought you the story of Fee, who spent some of his formative years in Duncan. In his teens he turned to drinking and drugs to escape from a troubled life, becoming an addict.

RELATED: Cycle for Sobriety rider makes Vancouver Island stop in old hometown

On Vancouver Island, we’ve been discussing a lot of late the problems that drug use and the opioid crisis have brought to our communities.

Just last week we learned that the overdose prevention site in Duncan is once again looking for a new home, the third in the short time it has been open. In Nanaimo, people are suing because of problems tied to a supportive housing project, many of them associated with addiction.

The numbers speak for themselves and we’ve talked in other editorials about the need for such a facility and why we support it: it saves lives.

But we also know there is a portion of the population that believes we should not have an overdose prevention site. The thinking is that addicts have brought their problems on themselves (and the rest of the community) and should just be left to suffer the consequences, even if that includes overdose and death. The supposition seems to be that those with addictions are beyond help, and more, unworthy of it, and should just be abandoned.

For those who take this position, we think you should consider how Fee’s mom talked about how many times over the years they almost lost him to death.

Fee talked about trying numerous treatment programs before finally finding something that worked. Had his family, and society, adopted the abandonment philosophy, he likely wouldn’t be here today. Instead of standing proudly beside her son, Tammy Lynne may have been standing over a grave.

If the individual suffering does not sway you, consider how much poorer all of us would be without Fee. Think about how many people he has talked to and influenced during his ride across the country. If he has inspired even a few people to consider getting treatment for addiction, the positives are surely worth it.

After all, we’re talking about lives saved.

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