The rash of recent fentanyl-related deaths in Kamloops and throughout British Columbia has understandably captured the bulk of the media’s attention in the past week.

Kamloops This Week spoke with the sister of one victim and featured his story, along with input from what the authorities are doing to tackle this seeming epidemic.

The frightening part of this tragic tale of lost lives is the fact these are accidental deaths of mainly young people who took a pill without knowing what was in it — or without knowing how lethal the dosage would be.

Kamloops This Week reader Patrick McDonald has a powerful letter, one that urges all of us to start talking about this problem.

“An informed public can start conversations with their children, co-workers and friends,” McDonald writes.

“If just one person hesitates before using an unconfirmed substance, it is worth the awkwardness of the topic.”

The deaths from fentanyl across B.C., Alberta and beyond do not discriminate with respect to age.

The next tragedy could be the middle-aged man afflicted with pain and desperate for relief. It could be a teenager hanging out with friends and trying something new for the thrill of the unknown.

The anguish falling on the families of the victims can be truly known only by those who have suffered equally.

That free group counselling for families impacted by addiction continues to be held in Kamloops (call 250-851-6744 for details) tells us this scourge will not go away.

This is why we all need to talk to our kids, to our siblings, to our partners and to our friends and get the message across that ingesting anything  without knowing its true contents is essentially pharmacological Russian roulette.

There have been too many deaths.

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