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  • Maureen Kerr
    February 15, 2016 at 6:27 AM

    Dear Everybody:

    I would like to change the Mental Health Act to include addiction. Does anyone know how I can do that, who to contact to help, etc. Or is there a group already working on it that I can join?

    Here is my story, which I wrote. It was published in the newspaper last week…..
    ___________________________________________
    Surrey Leader February 10, 2016
    When will we treat those who suffer?
    _____________________________________________________

    We are a barbaric people, some of us, full of impressive words and passionate concern about mental health and addiction recovery while doing very little about it.

    Being the mother of a drug addict is like having my heart ripped out, one inch at a time. It’s a raw and seeping wound that never stops bleeding, awake or asleep, whenever I see him and whenever I don’t. Not just because I’m forced to watch him die a slow and painful death in front of my eyes, but because I can do absolutely nothing about it.

    I cannot gather my son in my arms and transport him to safe harbor. I cannot scoop him from the tortured hell he lives in and plunk him down somewhere opposite. He’s an adult. He has rights. This haunted, emaciated skeleton – this ghost of what he once was and still could be – has rights.

    Experts tell us that addiction is a brain disorder. That repeated drug use leads to changes in the brain that undermine voluntary control. And yet we demand choices from people who are no longer capable of them.

    Workers in the field know that drug addiction is a mental health issue and still our Mental Health Act does not include it. I cannot force my son into treatment. He has to make the call. He has to hit bottom. The problem is, by the time he does, he’ll be dead.

    If a drowning man was too beaten, too exhausted, and too befuddled to lift his hand to yours, would you stand on the river bank and watch him drown? ADHD, severe depression and years of drug abuse cause impaired judgment and incapacity. My son suffers from it all in a “recovery house” that isn’t one, at the mercy of a landlord who exploits our most vulnerable. No food, no heat, no oven, no telephone. Alerting the authorities is pointless; the guy always wiggles out. Besides, it’s better than living under a tree. They’re addicts. Where can they go? No one else will take them.

    If I played the mom card I might get him into treatment. Keeping him there is more difficult. He’s been clean before, nine months once, but didn’t find the magic bullet and no longer believes in the 12-step program.

    And getting to the top of a waiting list takes courage, faith, persistence and a telephone, when the only push left in him is to search for drugs to stop the pain. Mostly he doesn’t. Mostly he’s dope sick, without drugs and without hope.

    He doesn’t eat, doesn’t talk, and hasn’t slept since 2012 when the mother of his child committed murder under the influence of drugs and alcohol and we lost my only grandson in the aftermath.

    I couldn’t help her, either. Same old story: you can’t force an adult into treatment, blah, blah, blah. A young girl dead, the other locked up, and a small boy loses his entire birth family. Will it ever stop?

    When are we going to fix this? Policy doesn’t change until large numbers demand it. Why aren’t we doing that? Why aren’t we saving our drowning people?

    Maureen Kerr

    Surrey

    • Amanda
      May 30, 2016 at 1:57 AM

      Maureen Kerr, I’m listening and i’m so sorry for your loss and your continued pain and heartache. My younger brother lives the way your son does and I have no way to change it or to help him. I try reaching him through my own ayahuasca ceremonies in hopes that he will feel it, or can one day have his own and heal. My question is how do I get him clean enough to the point that he can take part in a session? a time when he is without his anti-psychotic meds and without street drugs? We have never been able to force him or coerce him into rehab either and i share your sense of helplessness. With love and compassion,
      Amanda

      • Dustin
        September 6, 2016 at 12:53 PM

        People who are forced into rehab either become more addicted or become half people empty of the dynamic force that made them human. They are brainwashed. I know this is not your desire. I don’t know your pain. My pain is that of the addic looking into the eyes of my mother. It made everything worse. Any self respect I had left hung in the balace. The air hung heavy, she knew that the wrong words her would make me fall on ‘my sword so to speek’ She told me she loved me and wanted me to be happy. It didn’t save me from addiction but it saved my life, Am happpier know and am looking for the tool that will put me on that path. God wiling. Keep this heart and know that he is still growing as a person and a spirtual being. Even if you cannot see it.
        I truely hope this helps. .

  • Maureen Kerr
    February 15, 2016 at 6:34 AM

    Does anyone know what I need to do in order to get our Mental Health Act changed to include drug addiction?

    This is my story, published in the newspapers…
    _____________________________________________________

    We are a barbaric people, some of us, full of impressive words and passionate concern about mental health and addiction recovery while doing very little about it.

    Being the mother of a drug addict is like having my heart ripped out, one inch at a time. It’s a raw and seeping wound that never stops bleeding, awake or asleep, whenever I see him and whenever I don’t. Not just because I’m forced to watch him die a slow and painful death in front of my eyes, but because I can do absolutely nothing about it.

    I cannot gather my son in my arms and transport him to safe harbour. I cannot scoop him from the tortured hell he lives in and plunk him down somewhere opposite. He’s an adult. He has rights. This haunted, emaciated skeleton – this ghost of what he once was and still could be – has rights.

    Experts tell us that addiction is a brain disorder. That repeated drug use leads to changes in the brain that undermine voluntary control. And yet we demand choices from people who are no longer capable of them.

    Workers in the field know that drug addiction is a mental health issue and still our Mental Health Act does not include it. I cannot force my son into treatment. He has to make the call. He has to hit bottom. The problem is, by the time he does, he’ll be dead.

    If a drowning man was too beaten, too exhausted, and too befuddled to lift his hand to yours, would you stand on the river bank and watch him drown? ADHD, severe depression and years of drug abuse cause impaired judgment and incapacity. My son suffers from it all in a “recovery house” that isn’t one, at the mercy of a landlord who exploits our most vulnerable. No food, no heat, no oven, no telephone. Alerting the authorities is pointless; the guy always wiggles out. Besides, it’s better than living under a tree. They’re addicts. Where can they go? No one else will take them.

    If I played the mom card I might get him into treatment. Keeping him there is more difficult. He’s been clean before, nine months once, but didn’t find the magic bullet and no longer believes in the 12-step program.

    And getting to the top of a waiting list takes courage, faith, persistence and a telephone, when the only push left in him is to search for drugs to stop the pain. Mostly he doesn’t. Mostly he’s dope sick, without drugs and without hope. He doesn’t eat, doesn’t talk, and hasn’t slept since 2012 when the mother of his child committed murder under the influence of drugs and alcohol and we lost my only grandson in the aftermath. I couldn’t help her, either. Same old story: you can’t force an adult into treatment, blah, blah, blah. A young girl dead, the other locked up, and a small boy loses his entire birth family. Will it ever stop?

    When are we going to fix this? Policy doesn’t change until large numbers demand it. Why aren’t we doing that? Why aren’t we saving our drowning people?

    Maureen Kerr

    Surrey

  • Michelle Barash
    March 3, 2016 at 12:39 AM

    Amazing

  • mel
    May 31, 2016 at 6:49 AM

    I have a daughter in the same predicament I can relate to this in every aspect of life. I have felt exactly the same way as yourself and probably many others and still do. I am in support of this and would like to connect with others who would like to make a difference and make a change in our system.

  • Cheryle Groves
    September 24, 2016 at 9:42 PM

    Hi Maureen,

    We are in the same predicament with our son as you are. I’m from Australia and our Mental Health system is exactly the same as your’ s, I’m not sure where you are from. They won’t acknowledge an addict as having a Mental Health issue. I have now idea on what is the answer is though. I do wish someone with the understanding of addiction could help us.

    Kind Regards
    Cheryle G.

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