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Opioid Crisis on Vancouver Island Draws Attention

The opioid crisis on Vancouver Island has drawn the attention of a national television news program.

A TV camera crew made a stop in Duncan recently while gathering interviews and images for a prominent news magazine show.

Duncan businessman William Arnold, the owner of Experience Cycling, believes that even though it will highlight a problem in the community, the attention it will bring could prove beneficial in the long term.

“I think it’s bringing awareness and helping people understand that we have issues just like big cities and we need to address them and work with everybody involved.”

Arnold is hoping to see senior levels of government step up more with funding and services to help deal with a problem that he says is growing and affecting everyone.

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He says it’s impacting youth in schools, and the Indigenous community has been particularly hard hit and feels the issue is being patched over with bandages.

He hopes national exposure will be a chance for the the provincial and federal governments to see the “work that needs to be done.”

Arnold and a group of volunteers take time out of their daily schedules to clear sidewalks and alleys of discarded needles and drug paraphernalia.

By reaching out to people in the area, he’s come to know many of the substance users and does what he can to help them if possible.

In addition to neighbourhood clean-ups, in October of 2020 his volunteer group painted over graffiti on the walls of commercial buildings and installed a gate to reduce access to Whistler Street from behind a mall.

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