In Response:

To the CTV story about our patients affecting the sales of a neighbouring business.

We would like to thank Alan Guthrie of Ti Amo Café of Sudbury Ontario who complained about us on CTV as well as CTV for producing the story. We are, however, concerned that CTV used only one voice to represent an issue rather than of having a real conversation with medical professionals about the societal crisis in front of us. That being said, you have initiated a conversation that we are happy to participate in.

It is difficult to shift a community from complacency to empathy without shedding light upon the existence of the crisis they should be empathetic towards. We are thankful that more people are becoming aware that addiction is a crisis. So now that you are paying attention, we would like to share some of the realities buried underneath this story.

Opiate addiction takes TWO LIVES EVERY DAY in Ontario alone. Elderly individuals are currently hospitalized at a rate of 12 people daily and our youth hospitalization rates from opioid poisoning are climbing at an alarming pace. There is one simple fact that needs to be amplified in this conversation: opioids are destroying the lives of our loved ones. We all know someone who suffers from addiction in some form or another. Vita-Heal and organizations like ours are dedicated to serving the patients (not “clientele” as stated by Mr. Guthrie) that desperately need our help and are dealing with addiction. Vita-Heal Medical Clinic provides medical care for a variety of addictions including alcohol, cocaine, and opiates, to name a few.   We are here to help and serve our patients and their families. Our team is working strenuously every day to contain, mitigate and resolve this societal crisis. We didn’t get here overnight and we will not fix it overnight, but we do have the tools to turn some of what society refers to as “lost causes” into survivors.

Perception is everything. We must destroy the stereotypes that we face every single day. Our patients arrived here through a variety of factors; traumatic childhoods, depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, on the job injuries without adequate education pertaining to the medications prescribed. They are our mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends, and co-workers that are suffering, often in silence for fear of the stigma of being labeled. They are not “riff raff” – as stated by Alan Guthrie of Ti Amo in Downtown Sudbury. We must continue treating our patients by remaining in an accessible location and work towards shifting the major misconceptions surrounding addiction.

We are asking for our community and anyone reading this, to please acknowledge the importance of educating ourselves on addiction treatment. It has been proven that treating this illness reduces crime rates and health care costs. Helping these individuals is good for our entire community. Let’s get healthy together. Vita-Heal sees the hope and hard work put in by our patients every single day. Please take the time to learn more about addiction. Learn how to avoid it, how to help your friends and family with it and learn how to build empathy through education.

We will not be bullied out of the neighbourhood because we make a few people uncomfortable. Pain is uncomfortable. We will not allow our patients to be hidden and swept under the rug.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. We appreciate your support.

Vita-Heal Staff