Dear Pen Pals...

Do you have a question about drug use, addiction, mental health, relationships, sexuality, or other life issues? We've got you covered.

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Are there things you’ve always wondered about but have felt too uncomfortable to ask someone? Is there an issue you just don’t understand but would like to learn more about?

Megaphone has the answers you need.

Welcome to Pen Pals, a new feature that will run each month in our magazine.

Building on the open dialogue around drug use and addiction fostered by Megaphone’s new Speakers Bureau program, we’re launching a monthly “advice column” that aims to encourage respectful discussion about real life issues. We also want to increase interaction between the Megaphone team and our readers and customers.

So fire away! We have the awesome folks who are involved with Speakers Bureau, as well as some of our seasoned vendors, standing by to dole out their two cents’ worth.  (Take their advice at your own risk).

Oh, and a warning: Agree or disagree, rant or rave, but please be concise and respectful. No profanity. And while we are supportive of an honest exchange of ideas, racist, sexist, homophobic or other denigrating comments will not be printed.

Dear Pen Pals,

Q: Don’t we want people to stop using drugs? Explain to me why decriminalization/having a legal supply of opioids is a good idea.

A: Okay, great question, totally legitimate. First of all, what Canada needs to do regarding drugs is legalize all drugs. Decriminalization really does very little to take any kind of power away from the illicit market, which makes its own rules by doing exactly what the laws say they’re not allowed to do.

So, imagine this: You’re a chronically dependent heroin user of 20 years, dope sick from withdrawal, with no home and $10 you got from picking bottles all night. Your one option at this point is to go to a dark alley and look for heroin, but you know that these days, there is way more fentanyl and death out there than anything else.

Or we say to you: Yes, you are allowed to use drugs. And regarding opiates, because we, The System, are collectively responsible for the creation of the laws which caused all this over-prescribing, unchecked dependency and addiction maintenance—as well as breeding the culture in our society which glorifies using medication and then abandons the user as soon as they become “problematic”—well, from now on, we’re gonna give it to you for free.

Here is a single, regulated daily dose you can access, cleanly and legally from this vending machine, openly here in this safe consumption site, where you are surrounded by friends, resources and people dedicated, without judgment, to your safe use of whatever drug you do, recreationally or otherwise. And we’re gonna do this for as long as you need it.

Would you still then choose to go back out into the rain, to this desperate-looking and possibly dangerous stranger who is hustling not to satisfy his customer, but to make money, and who is aware of the shape you’re in but does not appear to care?

Of course we would love if everyone could just stop using drugs. But we’ll take staying alive, too.

Nicolas Crier (pictured above)
Coordinator, Megaphone Speakers Bureau

Send your questions to editor@, drop them off at the Megaphone office at 312 Main St. (at Cordova), or drop us a line on Twitter: @MegaphoneMag

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