There are many families suffering from addiction, but you won’t hear from most of them. Instead, they suffer in silence, living in the shadows hoping that you don't ask about their families, that you don't notice what's going on, that you won't think less of them if the secret gets out, that you won’t think their children are bad, that you won’t think they were bad parents, and so on.

The fact is, there is a prescription drug epidemic in North America that reached the sandy shores of the Island about 10 years ago, but the majority of Islanders don’t know about it, yet they are being affected by it in their everyday lives.  How?  Well, most Islanders now lock their doors when they never had to before; we think twice about letting our teenagers work at convenience stores where they may have to work alone; we’ve had our homes broken into; we have to worry about drugs in our schools; we see needles strewn around public areas; and the list goes on. We never saw or worried about those things years ago.

In the 80’s when I was a teenager, I had ONE person approach me about buying drugs. That’s it. Just one. Today, Island children face this on a daily basis at their schools and other public areas. That is scary! Parents can only do so much to protect their children.

Prescriptions for Oxycontin pain killers increased by 850% in ten years, and that is just Oxycontin. There are other types of pain killers too and their prescriptions have increased as well. This over-prescribing by doctors has caused an abundance of prescription drugs to be available for sale on the streets and roads of our beautiful Island. According to a CBC story, one young lady said that she could count 56 places to buy drugs between Summerside and Tignish. Imagine what that number is Island-wide! I've been told by some that only 10% of these prescriptions are written by Island doctors while others say this number is much higher. Either way, we have a major problem.

In the past couple of years, we’ve seen a significant increase in thefts from retail outlets, break and enters, home invasions, and armed robberies where syringes are one of the weapons used. The culprits were seeking money to buy drugs or pay off drug debts. One robber with a syringe was a 17-year-old female high school student. If this doesn’t show that there is a problem, I do not know what does!

I've been raising awareness through one-on-one conversations and through some public speaking but I needed a way to reach more people so I thought I would try blogging.   Through this blog, I can share real-life stories, facts on drug addiction, media reports and more in order to educate Islanders so that we can work to stop this epidemic from spreading.

My family has also been affected by addiction. It wasn't supposed to happen to us according to what popular belief says - good parents raise good children, right? Although good parenting gives your children a solid foundation in which to enter the real world, it is not a guarantee that they will not experiment with drugs. My husband and I don't drink, smoke, or do drugs of any kind. We were good role models in every way. Yet, addiction came into our home. To understand why this happened, I made researching addiction my life's work. I gained a better understanding of the many factors that can lead to addiction (even with a positive upbringing). I am happy to have a place to share some of what I've learned.

For those who are suffering, I hope you find some comfort in knowing that you are not alone in this. For those who have not been directly affected by addiction, I hope that you come here with an open mind and open heart so that you can be part of the solution. Being judgmental will not solve this problem. Action based on having the real facts will. To solve a problem such as this epidemic, we have to deal in reality.

God bless you, and thank you for taking the time to educate yourself.

Yours sincerely,
Rose Barbour


  1. Have you identified anything in your kids' childhoods that might have led them to addiction?

    1. Hi Ashley, thank you for reading my blog. I am glad that you asked that question because many parents have a false sense of security when it comes to their child using drugs. We certainly did! We don't drink, smoke, or use drugs so our kids were never around substances. We always talked to them about drugs and drinking as well. We never imagined we would be dealing with this but here we are. So much has changed in our culture in the past 10 to 15 years (since heroine was legalized in the form of prescription pain killers). I cover some of this in this blog post ( Please check it out, especially if you have younger children. Parents today are much better prepared than we were because so many of us are speaking out about the prescription drug epidemic. You won't be caught unaware. My son said that even though we talked to him all the time about drugs, he thought prescription drugs were safe because they were prescribed by a doctor. You only have to read my blog to see where that has led him and those who love him. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Good luck!

    2. Hi again, I was thinking a little bit more about your question. Many people believe that there must have been some type of traumatic event in an addict's life, which led to the addiction. This myth is perpetuated by shows like "Intervention" and "Dr. Phil". You have to remember that these shows have to be dramatic in order to keep the audience's attention. For many addicts (at least the ones that I've come to know over the past few years), their childhoods were quite normal by anyone's standards.

    3. The reason I became involved and addicted (along with so many others) was simple; it was fun and I liked the way it made me feel. Period. No abuse, no trauma. After many years, my body came to expect and need it. This is the insidiousness of addiction.

    4. Thank you for posting! Yes, I agree with you completely. Youth have and always will be thrill seekers who never think anything bad will ever happen to them. The difference today is the supply of drugs and alcohol in their environments that they can get into. That is why it is so important to carefully monitor what they are up to. The world is a lot less safe for youth. And, as you said, it starts out to be fun. When you can stop you don't want to and when you do want to stop, you can't.

  2. I'm enjoying reading your blog. It is very informative. Thank you.


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