‘The conversation must never end’: Community responds to Kanata dad’s letter on his daughter’s drug use

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Immediately after we published our story on Saturday about the Kanata dad who wrote an open letter about his daughter and teen drug abuse, we were inundated by comments from readers supportive of his struggle. Here is a sample. We’ve done some light editing for style and clarity.


Vicki: “My heart goes out to you”

Janet Taetz: “I am so sorry to hear about your struggles and so grateful that my two Kanata kids are passed that stage. My thoughts and prayers are with you, other families and these kids that are struggling.”

Sylvie Haddad: “I can’t begin to understand the pain your family must endure constantly. I’m a grandmother of four bright granddaughters and still have a terrible fear of the reality of what’s going on in our neighborhood! I feel strongly that it’s voices like yours that can bring this problem out in the open. The conversation must never end. We have to press our governments for stricter laws on drug traffickers and provide them with every opportunity to get the help to fight this! I want to know more.”

Jo-Ann: “I feel your pain! Our youngest is 23 and suffers from mental health issues. He’s often up all night and sleeping all day. The first thing we do when we get up and go home in the evening is check that he is still alive. He’s an adult and we can’t make him follow through with his doctors. We have to call police when we fear for our lives or his. There is not much help and most friends distance themselves after giving the great advice to ‘just kick him out’!”

Karen: “We know your pain. We have lived through this also. We went everywhere and begged for help. It is not out there. We actually are waiting for that dreadful phonecall from the police or hospital. We thought she hit rock bottom many times. Her rock bottom will be the morgue.”

“I want people to start talking,” says Sean O’Leary, who penned a letter about his own daughter’s struggle with drug abuse. He’s photographed inside his store, MYHome Furniture in Kanata. (Devyn Barrie/OttawaStart.com)

Bonnie MacDiarmid: “I am a mother of two grown children but the teenage years were simply awful. I think it started with smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol and then it lead to smoking marijuana and then drugs.

“At 17 our beautiful daughter was pregnant but that didn’t stop her from using. She physically attacked me one night – very high – and very strong. Police and lawyers were our friends and we visited them often.

“Back in the ’90s, I’m not sure if we were concerned about fatalities but rather the harm they were doing to themselves, others and their babies. I congratulate this gentleman for recognizing the epidemic that is amongst our young people and for striking up a forum where parents can come and voice their distress, share their pain and suffering within the family and in their community.

“The loss of yet another young person this week continues to bring so much sadness and grief to our friends and neighbours. Please don’t hide your troubles from each other – you need to come together and support one another and not be ashamed.

“This is the scourge that is ravishing our generation of young people today and we as adults need to find some common ground and try to support one another. In my career I was a teacher and thought I was ‘aware of drugs’ but not when your own children become involved.

“Then I denied and denied and turned a blind eye and only woke up to reality when a grandchild was born to an addicted mother – our daughter – and reality became very real!!!

“Please help each other – you are not alone – in this day and age when everything is open for discussion, I pray that you will take this opportunity to save your family and your future. Love to all of you.”

Jaimie: “My heart goes out to all involved. Addiction is heart wrenching on all involved.

“My son is six-and-a-half and has some serious mental health issues all ready. Several diagnoses.

“I am extremely familiar with the addiction aid of things has well unfortunately. The money that is poured into these agencies, facilities etc is astounding. Having said that, the services that they offer are very limited , lengthy wait lists and a lot of obstacles in between.

“Unfortunately the general population has no real understanding of how it all works and how many children, adolescents and adults are failed daily. I wish you and your family the best. Keep advocating 🙂 I really pray she gets clean.”

Candice M Christmas: “It’s Family Day, and for many, this is just another day in what seems like an endless nightmare of worry, fear, and feelings of helplessness and anger.

“Thank you Sean O’Leary for having the courage to speak these words. You are braver than I have been.

“‘We the parents of these kids and future kids need to unite for ourselves and for our kids. Please forward this to as many people you know who have teenage kids… Then we can have an open discussion of ideas, questions to be asked etc. The days of the saying ‘They need to hit rock bottom before getting better’ are over. Sadly in most cases today rock bottom is a slab at the morgue.’

“These aren’t bad kids. After my 18 months of study about Canadian youth, the majority have unmet mental health needs and the availability of drugs (from parents’ medicine cabinets as well as the streets) makes ‘escape’ just too convenient.

“The flavours vary – where I live it’s meth and crack, but fentanyl is having terminal effects in major cities. My family is finding our way out, but the spectre of addiction is always one hit away from the spiral.

“Mr. O’Leary you have inspired me. What you suggest – opening up ways for parents to talk and learn what help is available or what we need to advocate for (because there is’t enough or appropriate help available) – that is what needs to be done.

“This can’t lurk in the shadows anymore because of the shame and stigma we fear. Those who have not walked the road are often very quick to judge, but they do not know. How could they?! Thank you. I’m in Kingston. I’ll be in touch by e-mail.”

Leave your comments below or e-mail to feedback@ottawastart.com.


OttawaStart Staff

feedback@ottawastart.com

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