More to consider than gas sniffing

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The editorial cartoon on Sept. 22 was probably the most moving I’ve ever seen.  

The image of the young person sniffing gas with the caption “Last gasp” struck me the moment I turned the page. The artist’s excellent work captures the attention and evokes instant empathy.  

Substance abuse among youth in Natuashish and other isolated communities is clearly an issue that requires the sustained attention and resources of our leaders and our province’s support systems. I also want to take the opportunity to urge all members of the media and our communities to remember that there is much more to Natuashish than gas sniffing.

I’ve never been there and I certainly don’t pretend to speak for anyone there, but I know that the community is home to hundreds of people with many stories to tell. I’m sure that many would be equally heart-breaking, but also certain that a closer look would reveal inspiring, joyful, compelling and complex stories as well.  

There is no denying that gas sniffing is an urgent and persistent problem that requires attention, but when we restrict our view of a community to that one narrow window, it gives us a false picture.

It creates a stereotype and a caricature that is all too easy to dismiss and ignore as surreal. It lulls us into thinking that a community of people in all its richness and complexity is nothing but a basket case of unending substance abuse. That’s not only unfair and inaccurate; it also has great potential to be destructive because it makes us all a little less human.  

I urge readers — and all members of the media in particular — to dig deeper. The full picture of life in Natuashish deserves our attention, airtime and column inches, too.

 

Scott Morton Ninomiya

St. John’s

Geographic location: Natuashish

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  • Winston Adams
    October 04, 2012 - 22:10

    Scott, I've been there, and to Davis inlet too. One of the pieces ,by CBC, I think, mentioned a girl sniffing, who goes by the name of Dream. An unususal and nice and memorable name. I wonder if it is the same girl who a few years ago wrote a note, sent me by her teacher, thanking me and asking I send more gifts. I had sent gifts for a couple of years to every student there. And then I stopped. Yet I have thousands of dollars worth packaged to go. But they remain here. Perhaps I have disappointed a lot of kids there. I could have used some more help, from concerned adults. Winston Adams, Logy Bay

    • George P
      October 10, 2012 - 11:12

      Winston, your deed and your intent are very commendable. However, the value in your packaged gifts can only be realized after they are shipped and received. What's NOT to like about a happy dream? Think positive, ship your gifts to them and become the new "Star Of Logy Bay". Bless you.