Agree or Disagree: Society is supportive of those who struggle with substance abuse.


The past week, the world’s eyes have been glued to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.  Ever since Police Chief Bill Blair revealed that they had the now infamous video of Ford smoking crack cocaine. There was the subsequent denial and then admission of Ford smoking crack cocaine. There was another video of him acting inebriated making threatening remarks and swearing.

There have been many jokes made at his expense. Many have had a good laugh over this. And while there has been this laughter, I had to stop and really look at this situation. Not because I like Rob Ford. But because there is a serious situation happening before our eyes.   

It is pretty obvious to all of us watching that Rob Ford has a problem. A very serious substance abuse problem. Whether he admits it or not, he need serious help. The reality is he is not the only one who does. I recently read a CBC report that estimated that 11% of Canadians struggle with substance abuse. That number seems low too me for some reason. However, let me ask some questions? Before I do ask, I’m not asking this to be self-righteous or critical, but bring a perspective I was thinking about.

What if this was your friend and your friend was acting like this?

What if it was your brother and or sister and they were acting like this?

What if it was your spouse and they were acting like this?

What if it was your parent and they were acting like this?

What if it was you?

It seems easy to post a joke, or go to a public protest and demand a resignation of a figure that is “embarrassing your city”. It gets much tougher when we add the element of human being  you know with real problems in the mix. Because, many you know in a personal way how hard it is to go through this. Supporting recovery, or trying to recover yourself. 

What I have been thinking about and what I would like to talk about is how as a society deals with the topic of substance abuse? Is it a place of support? Are we open to the discussion? Or, are we ignoring it? 

My small observation of what we have watched this week might suggest we can improve here.

Agree or Disagree: Journalism has reached an all time low

If you haven’t seen this interview, this was the interview CBC Newsworld did with Toronto Councillor.

This inspired today’s discussion as he said it in this interview.

It also inspired me to write this column