Ann Lange, Red Deer, AB

Our daughter Heather Janette Lange has been an addict since she was 16 years old, she died at the age on 39. She struggled for 23 years with her disease. She lived in Yellowknife, NT during most of this time.  She started drinking and smoking pot in high school and moved on to harder drugs. She lived on the streets of Edmonton for awhile until she was jailed by the RCMP. She decided to come home to Yellowknife and watching her deal with the paranoia induced by her cold turkey withdrawal was heart breaking. I believe she was on crystal meth at the time.

She had two wonderful children a girl and a boy.  She was engaged to be married but her fiancé wanted her to leave the drug culture and her friends associated with that culture behind, so she refused to marry him.  When she once again succumbed to her disease, the children's father took the kids and eventually married and gave the kids a stable home.

She had numerous partners over the years, men who were generally older whom she met while drinking.  They would generally support and care for her while she lived one day at a time. She had periods during this time when she was sober for years and held a number of good jobs, she was a reporter, a weather technician and a clerk for the government.   She was a prominent member of the AA group in Yellowknife, starting a Wednesday meeting and she was also instrumental in getting a NA group going there.

She was diagnosed as suffering from bipolar schizophrenia due to her drug use. In the winter of 2018 she broke her ankle and we think she quickly became addicted to pain killers she procured somewhere.  She lost everything and was living on the streets of Yellowknife, she finally agreed she needed help and was sent to Nanaimo to a rehab center for a three month program. She was allowed a medical escort on the plane and she chose her latest "man" to accompany her.  It was close to her last poor choice. She missed her connection in the Calgary airport because they were drinking. She ended up at the Drop In rehab center in downtown Calgary where she managed to get her hands on some cocaine that was laced with fentanyl and she passed away on July 6, 2018.

I have been determined to do something about the epidemic of deaths in Canada due to drug overdoses.  I am still getting over our daughter's death but as soon as I read about MSTH I joined up. I am volunteering at the Mustard Seed in Red Deer which helps to feed the homeless.  I attended a movie called Dope Sick in order to learn more drugs and about what needs to be done. The person in charge of Safe Harbour, the spot which has been designated as the safe injection site in Red Deer was there.  I intend to visit her and find out what I can do on a personal basis. I have joined the federal government list of people that will fill out survey's that shape government policy on this problem. I have passed this survey on to friends who are recovering addicts.  I am looking forward to becoming fully involved member of MSTH.

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