Wednesday, 13 November 2013

"I'll be dead by the end of the day"


It was so sad to see a mom on the front page of The Guardian talking about how people are dying from mental health and addictions issues. Her son is missing and she assumes that he is dead. I admire her courage to speak out on this important topic at such a difficult time for her family.

There are so many of us who live in constant fear of that happening to our own children who are battling mental health and/or addiction.  This dear mother is living our nightmare and my heart goes out to her.

We certainly thought we were going to lose our son on more than one occasion. One such time was when he had been waiting for over 4 weeks to get into detox. The wait was getting harder by the day. He didn’t know how much more he could take. We were worried. We’d never seen him so down. Our conversation went something like this.

Son:  I am so tired of living like this. I can’t do it anymore.

Me: Dear, you have to get help.

Son: I tried, mom. I’ve been waiting to get into detox for over 4 weeks.  Besides, all I ever get offered for help is detox for 7 days and that is not enough.

Me: You can’t give up. You have to insist that you be offered something right after detox.

Son: They won’t listen. I am on the waiting list for Methadone but that takes a couple of years.

Me: Maybe you will luck out and get right into Talbot House after detox.

Son: I doubt it. I am just so sick of it all.

Me: Your life is worth fighting for dear. We love you and want you to get better but you have to take the steps and ask for the help.

Son: I did ask for help. I applied for Homewood but was turned down by that committee at Mount Herbert. I feel that there is nothing for me. I will never get out of this.

Me: You will get out of this. You need to go to the hospital if you are feeling suicidal. They can help.

Son: I went there last night and they sent me home because I use drugs. I am tired, mom. I can’t do it anymore. I just want to end it.

Me: Come with me to the hospital. You need to see someone.

Son: I am not going back there. I already tried. You don’t need to do anything for me because I’ll be dead by the end of the day. I love you guys but I can’t do it anymore.

Me: You cannot give up. We love you. Your life is worth fighting for. If I go with you, you’ll have a better chance of getting help.

Son: No one wants to help me so I don’t care anymore.

At this point, our son left the house. We had to call the police who took him to the hospital where he was put on suicide watch for the night. He was let out the next day.

Mike and I went to Mount Herbert to find out how much longer he’d have to wait to get into detox. We explained that he is suicidal because he’s been waiting so long and feeling desperate. He needed help badly. He also needed some hope that his call for detox would come soon. We were told that they can’t take him if he is suicidal. I said, “Well, the hospital can’t take him because he is using drugs so where does that leave him?”

There are some very serious gaps in the system, especially when Mental Health and Addictions are not working together. I bet the young man who is now missing experienced this when he sought help, just like so many others have.  It is my hope that our new Chief Mental Health and Addictions Officer, Dr. Rhonda Matters, will immediately address these silos so that people will get the right help at the right time. Let’s make sure that this young man’s suffering was not in vain. The time for change is now.

This post is not intended to point fingers at the good folks working in these areas. We do the best we can with what we’ve been given to work with. Rather, it is an attempt to demonstrate where the gaps exist so that real solutions can be found.

31 comments:

  1. This is exactly how it is my brother I got em to go last time I was home stayed seven days they gave him methadone then sent him home with nothing,clearly he was using within two days couldnt take the sickness he went back four times he is only 19 his last attempt didn't fair out well he left against staff orders saying he was gonna kill himself the cops were called and my poor mom was soworried Hes her baby the youngest, I should add on a positive note that my brother quit cold turkey in September went through the sickness but three weeks ago he told my mom he had to get out of pei before he relapses

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    1. Sadly, this is an all too familiar story for many. I am so happy to hear that your brother is making decisions that will help him stay in recovery.

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  2. It's time the island comes into the 20th century and stop turning a blind eye. There is a whole generation of kids who are now dependant on drugs. Who will be left to take care of the island? who will want to visit there when it's crime ridden? This is not acceptable you are almost better to encourage your Children to commit a crime and let them get help in jail there are all kinds of great programs for prisoners, is that really what this world is coming to. My heart goes out to all of you don't give up on your kids don't let their addiction win find your inner fight and fight like never before. Don't blame your kids they were almost set up to become addicted as the government aloud the epidemic to explode. They need your love more then ever and it's that love that will bring them home someday. Draw negative attention through the media towards the island and this growing problem and watch how fast they will start to listen if tourism is lost then what's left the island will sink. Fight dirty mom's and dad's

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    1. Thank you for your comment and compassion. You are right! We can never give up. Where there is life, there is hope.

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  3. I know exactly how you feel same situation with my youngest son. Was waiting for detox was having a hard time went to hospital told they couldn't do anything went home back to hospital a day later told Dr he was gonna Jill himself from they didn't help him told him they couldn't do anything. Finally got in detox home within 7 day back to using again back to detox same home again started stealing to pay for his addiction which by that point was between $300-$500 a day. Has now been in jail for 3 months and is being sentenced today. Hoping when this is all done that he comes out a better man but it's been a long road to try to get him there. And this has all happened in less than a year. My prayers go out to all addicts and their families it's a hard life.

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    1. Have a good long talk with your boy this is his opportunity to have all the help he wants. This is a blessing for him he should embrace it and strive to get healthy. Visit him lots keep a close eye on him don't for one minute think he is at least safe from drugs sometimes it's easier to score in jail then on the streets. Do not give him money while in jail. Make it clear to him that it won't be an option.

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    2. So sorry to hear that this was your family's experience too. It is all too common. Unfortunately, there isn't much in the way of treatment at Sleepy Hollow. That is the sad part. How can an addicted individual get rehabilitated without proper treatment? That is why there is what's called a revolving door there. They go in, get out, and go back in. There needs to be more help on the outside and on the inside. I wish him (and you) the best of luck.

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    3. Actually my husband was in jail for addiction, is now clean for 3 years, but in jail on pei there is no drugs or tabacco, its not like the movies.

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    4. I'm so happy to hear about your husband's recovery. That is just wonderful! I just want you to know that there is a good possibility that drugs are still available in PEI jails. There was a drug bust a couple of years ago. And a few months ago inmates got caught making some type of alcohol in the toilet. Things may have changed but I'm doubtful.

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  4. It appears we may in fact lose a number of this generation, as the resources are just not there to service the large numbers of addicts we are faced with, which is unfortunate, but kids are not listening and keep taking this stuff, in spite of all the warnings they are given not to do so. The best step we can take now is to try and eliminate the drug dealers, throw them in prison before they can get to our kids. This has to stop. I am no expert on how to do that but there must be a way. If these parasites keep walking our streets, soon we will have even more kids using drugs than we do now. I fear for the current generation, and am afraid to hold out much hope for future generations if this trend continues.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. The thing about youth is that they never think bad things will happen to them. They are curious, try drugs, and before they know it, they are hooked. It is very sad. We certainly do have to limit the supply.

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  5. The island being such a small place I'm sure the dealers are well known. Make it impossible for them to do business camp outside their homes video tape there every move follow them make it impossible for them to hide in the shadows. Assemble a group a large group that isn't going to let the island youth be stolen. I'm only 35 but I remember 15 years ago it was very hard to buy hard drugs I'm not saying it wasn't there but it was hard. These wannabe thugs pushing their drugs are just in business because it's to easy not because they are scary hard core criminals lazy bums earning a quick buck. There is strength in numbers. All you parents struggling with the health system and the lack of it, show up all together and refuse to leave till the premier comes and hears your struggles. Fight for your kids do not allow them to be over looked yell scream and do it in mass numbers. You will eventually get someone's attention. As Canadians we never assemble and refuse to accept what is going on its time we do it and PEI being such a small province you watch the attention you will get. These are your kids nothing is to extreme at this point.

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    1. Yes, there is definitely strength in numbers. There is so much stigma associated with this that people are afraid to come out. That's changing, though, little by little as we begin to talk about it more and it gets more attention in the media. The government has been feeling the pressure for sure but it most definitely could be stronger if everyone (not just the parents of addicts) spoke out. You are absolutely right that the environment has changed for kids. The drug dealers are fellow students in their schools. There are also dealers outside the schools. There are way too many prescription drugs around. As kids, you and I didn't have that temptation, and I am thankful for that!

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  6. The first thing U do is take out the drug dealers. The more drug dealers pop up the more u take out. If it was my kid that was on dope those bastards would pay.

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    1. Remember that the drug dealer ya wanna pop might be your son/daughter.When you are actively using you will do anything to feed your habit!! They are mostly our own addicts also doing what they are doing to feed their habits.It does not take long to get up to a 200.00-300.00 a day habit.How do you think they are funding this habit..their lunch money?? Do not Judge,Be nice to believe if the proper treatment was available our addicts would be in recovery and the drug dealers would dry up & blow away.

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    2. The drug dealers today, as the other person commented, are our own children. Most of them are so desperate, they are selling to get enough money to buy their next fix. I have tremendous sympathy for these kids - mine was one of them at one time - because they are caught up in something that is a nightmare that is hard to get out of. They need treatment if they have any chance to get well. The people who are doing it for pure profit and are not addicted themselves don't get any sympathy from me. They are the ones that should face the full extent of the law.

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  7. Is there a way to get in touch with these people? I have something that will help if they really want it. It doesn't require treatment but a change of mindset. I know what they are going through and i have failed many times. I have however succeeded and i am eternally grateful. I was told by M.D.'s to get a degree and teach this to people. I would but that is too expensive (which i can't afford and haven't been able to for 6 years) and it takes a lot of time.(which i do have). I have ruined my credit and because of drugs, alcohol and cause i didn't want to follow any rules. So there will be no university for me. But i refuse to let money stop me....People who want help CAN do it. I wouldn't charge a dime as i think that freedom from addictions should be free. If you are ready to get back into living a life free from these mind bending and harmful addictions it should be available. No questions asked. I have started a facebook page (cause it's free) "Well-being Support Group and Wellness Group Meetings". I will answer any messages and help where i can. I have heard people say the hard stuff is up to you but i would rather say "the freedom is in your hands"

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    1. Congratulations on your recovery. It sounds like you found the perfect thing that works for you. That is wonderful! I don't have a way of reaching the people who visit the blog or post. Hopefully, they'll come back and see your comment about your group. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. I've just recently started following your blog and what an amazing job you are doing. You are such a beautiful person and parent. I've had the privilege of communicating with you and another mom and it's heart breaking to hear the struggles you face but also so great to hear that you are fighting back. The two mom's I've had the chance to talk to you guys are amazing mom's and your love and understanding is what will help your kids find their inner strength. To all the other parents dealing with daily struggles of children who are addicted to drugs be strong and fight and love like never before the day will come when your son or daughter thanks you for never giving up and at that moment all the horrible past will disappear. I myself put my parents through hell and back but because of them I'm clean and sober and alive for he first time in my life.

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    1. You brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for your kind words. I think I know who you are?? If you are that person, you have no idea how much inspiration you have given to me and the other mom. We were just talking about you this morning and how helpful you've been and how grateful we are that you came along! Thank you!

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    2. Yes it is me :) I'm glad I can make some sort of use of my wasted years. I could never in a million years re pay all that was done for me during my addiction but if I can some how translate the thoughts of an addict so the non addicts can understand the inner struggle and the hold it gets on you so you don't loose hope and patience then I can some how convince myself I'm paying forward instead of back.

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    3. :) Our wish is, our own children will someday be where you are....You give us hope and the strength to carry on the fight...Your perspective needs to be heard..Seems all we do is cry lately..you give us a" good" reason for the tears..huggs

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  9. Coming from a family of addicts, I feel as though our system is constantly failing people. what is 7 days going to do for someone? we seriously need a much better addiction program that what is offered here. Personally I think our system is a big joke!!! My heart goes out to all people affected

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting. Yes, the system needs a lot of work. the positive side is that PEI is small enough to be a leader in this area with the right people leading the charge. Let's pray that good things will happen soon.

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  10. I know exactly where this mother and son was coming from as I too experienced the same situation with a family member. I hope that Government takes a serious look at our broken system! Mental Illness and Addiction is just not taken seriously enough on PEI!

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    1. Sadly, I think this experience is more common than not. I hope that we'll see a major change in these areas. Lives depend on it!

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  11. there are other drs that prescribe methadone. two family drs in chtown have the same amount of patients as detox, each. im a patient of one of these drs. you have to go past detox if u want help ..mount herbert is a joke.

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    1. The good news is that a group a doctors is opening their own Methadone clinic in the New Year. They will save a lot of lives and relieve some pressure off of Addictions Services. Sounds like a win-win situation.

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    2. Hi, I just read through this and I am sadden by the major grief some face (although we all have our own forms of grief and suffering). I have a nephew who has been suffering from the effects of addiction and has been in and out of rehabs and more so in and out of jail for most of his youth and adult years (he is now 38 and will be once again released in Dec..)and he has been getting Methadone (I am sorry for my ignorance on this subject as I don't know if 'getting' is the correct phrasing). I had no idea what difficulties were faced to try to get help, this so so sad; sad is not even a good enough word.
      All I can offer is to let you know that my prayers are with you. God Bless you and your families, Maggie.

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    3. Hi Maggie, thank you for your prayers. The majority of people have no idea what an Islander battling addiction faces when they try to get help. Unless you've dealt with the system, you just wouldn't know. There are a lot of gaps and people suffering and dying within them. Your nephew (and family) is one of them. Addiction, like any disease, needs to be treated immediately and aggressively to prevent it from getting worse. When left untreated or under-treated, it progresses quickly. Then, we all suffer. The addict suffers from a life that can only be described as a nightmare. The family suffers watching loved ones slowly kill themselves. Communities suffer as addicts resort to crime to feed their addictions. And, the list goes on. Addiction is everyone's problem. We have to demand that our fellow Islanders get the same level of treatment as they would for any other serious illness. We also have to cut off the supply of prescription drugs in order to prevent even more youth from becoming involved with them. That is the only way we'll get this under control. Thank you for visiting my blog to get informed. I hope it helps you to understand your nephew better. He is not bad, he is sick.

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