The following statement was issued today by Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano in response to 'Steel Town Down: Overdose Crisis in the Soo', a Vice/W5 expose which aired this past weekend on CTV.
I believe I speak for us all when I say how frustrating it was to see the way in which our City was depicted in the recent airing of the W5 television special, Steel Town Down. While I believe there is in fact an opioid crisis in our community, this is not a problem that is specific or exclusive only to Sault Ste. Marie. The opioid crisis extends across all communities throughout Canada and deserves national attention, however it is upsetting that it came at the expense of the place we proudly call home.
The fact is that this is an epidemic and the people of our community need to know that it is not being ignored. Recently I met with Ron Gagnon, the CEO of Sault Area Hospital and we discussed this crisis at length. There is a strategy being developed to provide greater access to addictions and mental health services here in Sault Ste. Marie, but that initiative will be costly and will require significant financial government support. I am going to do everything in my power to see that those resources are made available so that we are better equipped to combat our battle against addictions.
The problem of addiction requires more than only a reactive approach to providing better access to services. We must be proactive to keep drug use and overdoses at a minimum. Economic initiatives that will spur job growth; education initiatives that will create greater awareness; and legal initiatives that will prevent easy access to these harmful drugs are all necessary if we want to effect meaningful change. I intend to fight to ensure that all these measures receive the attention they are due because the cliché is true; it is a matter of life or death.
Sault Ste. Marie is my home and it is the place where my wife and I have happily decided to build our futures and raise our children. We are so much more than what was portrayed on W5 and I know that we will rally around this to show the rest of the country that we are a community that will mobilize together, to effect positive change within our own home and beyond.