Many substances and activities can be potentially addictive. As addiction rates rise, a lack of support in London becomes apparent.
Recent graduate of Western University, Sabrina Jackson, has seen the repercussions first-hand during her experience as a paramedic.
“It’s very sad to see such a disarray of substance abuse here in London,” she says. “There’s a lot of homelessness, mental health issues, and drug abuse that are all very confounded in our city, and it’s very tough to break that cycle.
Jackson highlights hospitals as one of the main problem areas. “There’s not much help at the hospital unless there’s a huge mental health crisis where they’re a harm to themselves,” she explains. “They give them a referral sheet, and then the rest is up to them.”
She says that the referral they receive doesn’t often translate into any solid form of support, partly due to a lack of locations for these individuals to be referred to. “The hospital does have a crisis team now, but there’s nothing long-term,” Jackson says.
Turning Point Inc. is an addiction recovery home in London – a true scarcity. Laura Bell works at Turning Point, and she also highlights the general lack of resources for recovery. “There’s only two detox beds for women in the whole city of London,” she explains. “We’re here as a long-term recovery home, and the closest one to what we do is in Sault Ste. Marie. We have 8 beds here, and we always have a minimum of 14 people on our wait list. When there isn’t help available, we’re losing people.”
Bell believes the government is “putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound”. She says there needs to be more long-term treatment available to those who need it.
Jackson suggests more direct help at the hospital as a first step. “Instead of being handed a sheet and sent out the door, if it was right there and immediate, that would be perfect for these people to get help.”