July 11th 2023- On my way to Portugal to learn more about its approach to addressing problematic substance use through harm reduction, recovery and ancillary programs and services. Canada's Ambassador to Portugal has kindly agreed to talk to me as well as Dr. João Augusto Castel-Branco Goulão, national drug coordinator for Portugal. I am also scheduled to visit harm reduction and recovery sites. It's not an official trip so I'm doing this at my own expense. Too many Canadian Families have lost too many loved ones and we need to look for solution wherever we can find them.
It was only a few weeks ago over lunch that Liberal MP Brendan Hanley and I were talking about my upcoming trip to Portugal to learn more about that country's unique approach to problematic substance use. Brendon is the former chief medical officer of health for Yukon, a territory with the highest per capita toxic drug overdose death rate in the country. He voted for my bill for a health approach to a substance use along with thirteen other members of his party. He called for a couple of dats later and asked if he could come along. Having a trained and experienced Canadian public health expert with me for these meetings has been invaluable. It's pretty unique, I admit two MP's from different parties on a self-funded learning expedition, kind of unheard of in fact, but politics should never be a consideration when lives are at stake.