Moms Stop The Harm calls for:
- Families as partners in finding solutions
- Support don’t punish
- Saving lives through harm reduction
- Redefine recovery
- Ending the harm due to bad drug policy
- Know the drug, minimize the risk
- Bereavement support
- Legalization of Cannabis from a public health perspective.
1. Families as partners in finding solutions
Families have lived experience, and acknowledging their experience and expertise is essential when seeking solutions to the drug crisis. Recognizing families as partners is important. It brings a meaningful voice, a knowledgeable voice to the table during the quest for prevention and treatment of substance use disorders as well as in the policy-making and research process.
2. Support don’t punish
The stigma surrounding addiction prevents people from asking for help and choosing life saving actions. Many of our children died alone, driven into the shadows by a judgemental society. Research shows that substance use disorder is not a moral failing. It is a health issue that requires treatment and continued support. Individuals using substances have a right to access appropriate medical services and deserve the same level of support and care offered to those with other health conditions. Treatment approaches are needed that are evidence informed and that respect human rights.
3. Saving lives through harm reduction
Harm reduction is a key component of a comprehensive response to drugs. This will prevent or reduce harm and deaths related to substance use. Harm reduction must include:
- Free and ready access for everyone in Canada to the overdose-reversal drug Naloxone.
- The implementation of supervised consumption services in all major communities where the need has been determined.
- Needle exchange programs in all communities where intravenous drug use occurs.
- Awareness and use of the 911 Good Samaritan Overdose Act
- Accurate health surveillance data that is public and shared in a timely manner.
4. Redefine recovery
Make mental health and addictions services part of primary care with a focus on early identification, prevention and treatment options that work for everyone. Redefine the meaning of recovery to include a range of options that allow the person to stop seeking dangerous, illicit drugs. These options may include: abstinence from drug use, Opioid Agonist Treatment (suboxone, methadone) and the replacement of toxic street drugs with prescription options, such as prescription heroin.
5. Ending the harm caused by bad drug policy
Bad drug policies have created great harms. The war drugs has been a war on drug users and the financial and human cost to society is staggering. Drug policy reform is needed at all levels of government: local, provincial, national and international. Reforms can include a focus on restorative justice, rather than criminal justice and the decriminalization of possession of small amount of illegal drugs for personal use.
6. Know the drug, minimize the risk
Education on substance use for young people, their parents, and the community at large is needed urgently needed. The ‘just say no to drugs’ campaign has failed and we need a new approach that provides honest, accurate and timely drug information so that young people can make the safest choice possible. An overall goal is creating increased awareness about the dangers of opioid use, overdose prevention, and responses to overdoses for students from elementary school to post-secondary education. We need messaging on social media and in high visibility areas where drug consumption is likely. The best protection is education.
7. Bereavement support
Compassionate support is urgently needed for the grieving families who have lost a family member to substance misuse. Family and friends are experiencing significant trauma because of the opioid overdose crisis. IT COULD BE ANYONE’S CHILD!
8. Legalization of Cannabis from a public health perspective.
The current unregulated illegal market contributes to increased harm for users and especially young people than a government regulated market will be. We support measures that reduce the likelihood of youths and young people using Cannabis and we ask that tax dollars generated from Cannabis sales are invested in education, prevention, harm reduction and research.
This handbook offers a few suggestions to help you get involved with us, from informing yourself and sharing our message to becoming a more active advocate.