PETERS – Stereotypical drug user or not, all lives are worth saving

FOR MANY of us, the death of Ryan Pinneo in January of 2016 was the first indication something was different. The young Kamloops man had died of a fentanyl overdose.

There were reasons this was different, and those are some of the reasons people took notice. Pinneo had a supportive family and a bright future, not the stereotypical burnout street junkie we previously associated with overdose deaths.

Yet for many, that negative stereotype remained true, and as this segment of the population saw overdose death numbers rising, they quietly said, “Good riddance to bad rubbish.”

They decried public money going toward harm reduction initiatives that would save lives, because in their hearts, they believed those lives were not worth saving.


James Peters is the radio anchor at CFJC, coming to Kamloops in 2006. He anchors the afternoon news on B-100 and 98.3 CIFM, and contributes weekly editorials to the CFJC Evening News. He tweets regularly @Jamloops.

About Mel Rothenburger (6121 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on PETERS – Stereotypical drug user or not, all lives are worth saving

  1. What I don’t understand, James, is this.
    Is the unsympathetic segment in our society preventing any resolutions to death by overdose? Are the same people preventing long lasting resolutions to avoid people taking drugs in the first place?
    I personally don’t think so.
    It is a poorly kept secret that seemingly well functioning “pillars of society” take certain illegal substances. Why?
    Maybe there is the need to stop pretending, specially the media and the network of the “movers and shakers.”
    Life is a high in itself…but if you worship the wrong “deities”, if you pretend (that word again) to be happy but you truly are not then the need for a “corroborant” becomes impossible to resist.

  2. I had the opportunity to know and respect both of these men. I count it a privilege to have coached Ryan for a number of his soccer playing years in Kamloops. He was a wonderful, respectful young man who always put the team and his friends first. When I received the call that he had passed away, I was both shocked and deeply saddened because I saw so much potential in him as a quality young man with so much promise to yet come about in his life.
    I met Christopher this past summer when we crossed paths at the centre that was set up at TRU’s campus for those affected by the wildfires. He was a leader in the chaos and I will always fondly remember him for seeking out the youngsters who were affected by fleeing thru the flames as they escaped with their families. On one occasion, I witnessed him sit on the ground to speak to a very young boy that was emotionally shocked. His kind and positive words made a difference that day.
    These men, and many others that live on our streets and in our back alleys are worth fighting for. I don’t know what the answer is but we must never give up in trying to end the loss of life to this scourge that is robbing us of wonderful people.

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