Barbara Brady-Fryer, Edmonton, AB
Our precious son, brother, grandson, cousin, nephew and friend Jason, aged 28, died accidentally and instantly on September 20, 2016 after ingesting what he must of thought was fentanyl but was actually carfentanyl. Naloxone injection would not have saved Jason as the effect was immediate.
Jason was an intelligent, witty, curious, sensitive, stubborn individual who had a normal childhood with many friends. He grew into a fun loving handsome young man - a self taught genius with technology. Despite his many gifts, a long struggle with mental illness began late in high school with anxiety and inability to concentrate. Over the years Jason was treated for anxiety, attention deficit disorder, depression and finally diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 26 in 2014. Over these difficult years, Jason's need to 'feel better' led him to substance use.
Although Jason's schizophrenia was successfully treated, his substance use was not. Our experience was that a functional connection between treatment and services for addiction AND mental health is almost non-existent. In our many interactions with the health system, our family never once received any information or advice on substance use harm reduction for our son. We were dumbfounded and extremely disappointed to learn that every psychiatrist is not required to have the education and training required to assess and prescribe treatment for substance use harm reduction. If that had been the case, we believe our son, who was being treated in a psychiatric clinic, would still be alive.
We are heartbroken and our family will never be the same - despite many years of trying as a family we lost our beautiful son. We do not blame the healthcare providers, we believe this is a systems issue and that the current systems and supports based on abstinence and self control and that do not provide appropriate advice to families need to be changed ASAP. This can only be done by the providers themselves, with the help of current substances users and the families who have lost loved ones due to these terrible circumstances.
Son Jason, aged 28, died accidentally on September 20, 2016 after ingesting what he must have thought was fentanyl but was actually carfentanyl.