A father mourns his daughter, a victim of the opioid crisis and fentanyl dealers

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      By John Butler

      I recently found my daughter dead in her apartment in downtown Langley from an accidental overdose. The coroner listed cause of death as a large amount of fentanyl in her system.

      She was sweet by nature with a loving and caring heart. Bullied and ostracized in the Richmond elementary school system and in Langley, she discovered her closest friends were those that used soft drugs and alcohol.

      Fitting in and being accepted was hard for her from a young age, being born with Type 1 diabetes and struggling in school with ADHD. The children and parents were rarely compassionate or understanding and in most cases encouraged ostracizing her.

      In Grade 11, she was offered heroin to “try”. No charge. For someone suffering from self-esteem issues, insecurities, emotional pain, and bullying, heroin took all her cares and concerns away. By her third use, the drug had attached to her receptors and her body physically craved it, and to attain the same original sensation her dosage had to be increased, and she  was now hooked, physically and emotionally. In the drug world, that is called “chasing the dragon”, and now the drugs were not free. The horror of heroin usage was now in full swing.

      We noticed behavioural changes in her mood, which varied from isolation and anxiety to irritability and anger. Her hygiene, complexion, and personal appearance went downhill.

      Then we started noticing the many items around the house that were missing and sold to support her habit. The police were called due to uncontrollable yelling and violence. It was a nightmare.

      My wife and I spent over $100,000 trying to save our daughter from a life that would not end well if she did not stop. Eventually, she thrived, and our girl was back. The chain-smoking and marijuana use we accepted, as she was home and safe.

      She even worked at a drug treatment centre for young girls, and our pride was immense.

      She got an apartment and experienced her first serious relationship. We were very happy for her.

      But that all changed. The police were being called to their apartment: holes were punched into walls, screaming and fighting were continuous, and their apartment was filthy. This led to an eviction notice on September 30, 2020. Her boyfriend moved out and she lived alone until she was required to move.

      It was the last month of her life.

      As a father living alone now, I called her and worried constantly. I dropped by and called all the time. I was always made to feel I was being paranoid and overcautious. Eventually, I felt more at ease as she spoke openly of relapsing and she was eager to get help and start over.

      I always phoned her by 10 a.m., but on October 22 I decided my worries and concerns were only causing her to lose sleep. There was talk of her moving in with me or maybe her boyfriend. Things were going well.... But on October 22, my phone calls at 1:30 p.m. were not being answered.

      I went over and entered her apartment to find it dark and silent, with no response to my arrival. My heart was already sinking.

      I turned the corner to find my baby girl in her robe, slumped over onto the bathroom counter. The colour of her skin was a shade I had never seen before. The noise I made did not cause her eyes to flicker open, my hand on her cheek was met by cold, and trying to lift her was met with a stiff and lifeless body.

      I’ve only ever had one child, and at that moment my world died, my heart shattered, the sky fell, and my world changed forever. My baby was gone. 
      The last time I saw, touched, and kissed her cheek was when the paramedics wheeled my love to the morgue.
      The coroner says it was due to a significant amount of Fentanyl in her body. An accidental overdose, because there was nothing to suggest suicide.

      Whoever made and sold the dose had no idea of or cared about the potency or danger of the product they sold. They didn’t care if giving it to a child to “try” would potentially hook them, and they don’t care who they harm, the children they kill, or the families they destroy.

      It’s not the users who are the problem—it’s the people who sell it, sell it to anyone. They are the true monsters of our society.

      Today, just a mere six days after finding my daughter dead, my wife and I have to go to a funeral home and make the final arrangements for our baby's service. It’s the worst experience and challenge I’ve faced in 60 years.

      After accepting Jesus as her lord and saviour, my daughter is in heaven. Me, my wife, her two sisters, boyfriend, aunts, uncles, and cousins live with the sorrow and pain of a life taken too early.

      Meanwhile, the drug dealers have door-to-door delivery service, openly sell to homeless camps, and continue offering children samples in hopes of hooking them for a steady income.

      The solution: the people need to take back our streets; we need to push back; we need to report; we need to stand guard. The police can’t be or aren’t effective in stopping these ruthless, selfish animals that are taking the lives of our fathers, mothers, and children.

      It has to stop or we will be like any U.S. city.

      It has to stop

      Rest well, my love…

      I will miss and love you forever,

      Dad

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