The Authentic Eclectic

The War On Drugs Failed

Grieving parents want a different approach.

Jody Pineholm
3 min readDec 22, 2021
A white christmas tree with coloured baubles, Jody Pineholm, Medium
Photo by author December 2021 — Tree placed by Moms Stop The Harm

In 2020, in the United States, 93,000 people died from drug harms.

In 2016, Canada declared opioid use a public health emergency. Since then, more than 22,000 people have died from tainted drugs.

Most of these people were young adults who used drugs for a variety of reasons. Some suffered from substance use disorder, which is listed in the DSM-5 as a disease. Some had mental health issues or past traumas that they were trying to treat with drugs. Some were prescribed opioids for pain relief after surgery and were suddenly cut off, leaving them to self-medicate. Some were using party drugs, much as we used alcohol or pot when we were younger. The drugs they used were purchased on the street, therefore illegal, the same as the alcohol and pot we purchased.

The difference now is that the drugs available on the street are poisoned, much like the home-made alcohol during prohibition was.

A drug poisoning death of a young adult hurts their children, their parents, their siblings, their extended family, their work colleagues, and their friends. A conservative estimate of the number of people affected might be 20, for each person.

Extrapolating, approximately 1.8 million people in the U.S. and nearly half a million people in Canada have lost someone they care about. They are motivated to stop the carnage of drug poisonings. Grief support groups have been formed to help the families. I belong to one in Canada whose members have saved my sanity and maybe my life.

There are thousands of members, and we tend to stick with each other. Unless you have experienced the death of a child from drug use, you can’t really understand how it feels. We are not only mourning the death of our child, we are fighting the stigma leveled against drug users and by extension, their families. To get a glimpse of what we experience while our children are using, and even after the death of our loved ones, read the comments following any news story on overdose or drug poisonings. I read a comment today that suggested the problem could be solved by supplying hot shots to drug users.



Jody Pineholm

I’ve learned a few things. Reading is a great teacher, song lyrics rule, and poverty’s a bitch.