VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Every person’s journey that leads to addiction is different.
That from Correne Atrobus, a Victoria mother who describes her daughter as a great big sister who graduated from high school with honours before heading off to college.
She is someone who played ball, loved to swim and had lots of friends – but over the last decade Atrobus says she’s seen how her daughter’s addiction changed everything.
“She started drinking. That was her progression and then it proceeded into cocaine, followed by prescription pills and then into heroine,” Atrobus says.
In the years since her daughter’s addiction took hold, Atrobus says she’s been in and out of rehab and detox, survived overdose and spent time living homeless.
“She’s fully addicted to fentanyl now, there’s no heroine really, it’s fentanyl.”
Atrobus says it’s heart-breaking to see how her daughter’s addiction has progressed over the last ten years.
“You’re grieving your child while she’s still alive. It’s been horrendous, she has two younger sisters. There have been times I wasn’t even in contact with her, I am now.”
She adds, if there had been a rehab facility she could have had access to right away, that could have helped.
But weeks long waitlists, especially for women, left her with few options to help her daughter who at one point asked to start a methadone treatment – only to find at that time long waitlists for that too.
Atrobus says, it’s important for people to realize how quickly their kids can go from being on a path that is very healthy to a path of addiction.
“Also, due to the stigma, people just used to think this just happens on the other side of town. There’s so many components that go into mental health and addiction that there’s no clear path. It can happen to anyone.”
Atrobus remains hopeful that her daughter will be able to recover.
“We all have hope. When she’s ready, the help’s there, I’m hoping and praying she’ll take it. At this point I’ll be happy to have her on a safe supply because I feel if she is, it will save her life.”
A call being echoed by Leslie Mcbain, founder of advocacy group Moms Stop The Harm.
She says both the Provincial and Federal responses have huge gaps in them. Adding, we need oversight of treatment like there is for long-term care and a consistent safe supply.
“That is the one thing that will stop the deaths and if can get there we will see significant downturn in the deaths. If that doesn’t happen and we get back to normal after COVID then I don’t know,” McBain explains.