Thursday, September 27, 2012

John Gormley's double standard

Back in June, John Gormley wrote movingly in his newspaper column about the need to "tear away the stigma" from people who "selfmedicate to try and make the pain go away." The disease that afflicts these people, Gormley writes, "is not a character flaw. It is not a weakness."
Damn, I remember thinking. Gormley finally gets it.
But it turns out Gormley doesn't get it. This week, on his radio show and his Twitter feed (maybe on his LinkedIn network as well), he's been railing against public health initiatives that are proven to save both lives and taxpayer dollars.
It's confusing. Or it was. Until I realized that Gormley's compassion when it comes to mental health and addiction issues only extends to folks like Darren Wourms or Dave Batters, who look like Gormley. People who do street drugs don't look like John, so why should he care?
Even as Saskatchewan's HIV rates soar, to the point where the province has even developed its own strain of the virus, Gormley continues argue against sane public health policy. Gormley perpetrates absolute myths about needle exchanges and demonizes the people--daughters and sons, mothers and fathers--who use them. This isn't just Gormley's usual brand of cheap, hollow political rhetoric. His deliberate dissemination of misinformation puts lives at risk. At best, it's irresponsible. At worst...

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