Vancouver's Addicts Rally for Recovery
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The Vancouver Art Gallery was chock-full of hundreds of recovering addicts and their families and allies on Sunday afternoon, rallying to show support for addicts who have not yet received treatment and to push the government for more substance abuse programs. As part of Canada's first ever Recovery Day, recovering addicts shared their personal stories with the crowd, many of whom donned sweaters that said “sober” and some carrying posters reading “recovery saved my life.” “The message is: recovery works,” said rally organizer David Berner. “If you or someone in your family is in a disaster of addiction and alcoholism, get yourself to a program because millions of people are cleaning up.” The rates of teen drug use in British Columbia are alarming, much like in the US, with statistics suggesting that young people who struggle with substance abuse are first experimenting with drugs and alcohol as early as 11 years old. “Youth addicted to drugs... are disproportionately likely to commit crimes. From my personal research and my time in policing of 31 years, this is quite evident and it continues to be a significant problem that we are not addressing,” said former Solicitor General Kash Heed who is a strong proponent of implementing recovery programs for youth. “The monetary value of saving one high-risk youth from a lifetime of crime puts the number [up to] $2.6 million to $4.4 million." Statistics show young people who remain in treatment for longer than four months have an 80% chance of staying off drugs in the future.