2020 The Year Drug Poisoning Took A Tremendous Tole

When we thought the number of drug related deaths could not get worse, the Global pandemic hit and the number of deaths from drug poisoning escalated to unimaginable heights.

I do not say “drug overdoses” intentionally.

Those struggling with addiction are not dying from overdoses as much as they are dying from a poisoned drug supply – a toxic mixture that has affected drug supplies from coast to coast to coast.

Taking a overdose means you have taken an excessive or dangerous amount of a substance you believed you were taking. You have “over dosed” yourself by taking too much of the intended substance. Today people are dying at alarming rates because the substance they thought they were ingesting, inhaling, injecting had been tainted and become a poisoned drug supply. Tainted by the gangs, traffickers and dealers with absolutely no consideration for those we love, rather just trying to increase the toxicity bringing more people into the life of being addicted and desperate.

The Pandemic has also meant that far to many people are using in isolation. More than ever before people struggling with addiction are using alone. The isolation from the pandemic as well as the ongoing stigma around addiction and drug misuse, the lack of understanding and compassion for those struggling, often means those battling addictions are using in private and no one is there if the drug they have taken overcomes them.

The pandemic has also seen an increase in the number of people struggling with a relapse. Those who have grabbed that life-line to living free of the substances that held them hostage, experiencing a relapse because of feelings of isolation and despair. Decreases in the number of support meeting. Decreases in the amount of time they are able to spend with others for support. They need our understanding and compassion and encouragement. They need to know we are there for them. That we believe in them. That we are there to help them get back to their hard-earned lifestyle. While we may not be able to be there in person – a daily phone call can be a life-line.

Judgement and anger or frustration will do nothing to help your loved one who has relapsed. They already feel they have failed. They need encouragement not judgement.

I believe as we end this year that has impact every single person – many extremely hard, we are going to see a reset in 2021. It will continue to be dark with the pandemic still raging, but as we get through this year, I believe we will find a world more tolerant. More understanding.

With so many people, first responders, medical teams, the healthcare community, families, Mothers in particular – Mothers are the real heroes in this fight – standing up and speaking out about the disease of addiction affecting the lives of those we love and tragically taking the lives of far to many of those loved ones – we are taking the disease of addiction out of the closet and into mainsteam discussion. We must never allow this awareness to ever again be hidden.

We must continue the momentum, speaking out, writing to every level of government to affect changes. The disease of addiction must be recognized and treated with the same level of care and consideration as every other disease. Diseases affecting the brain, affecting behaviors have for far to long been treated very differently than diseases affecting the body. This must end. We can only have a healthy body if we have a healthy mind.

This fight must continue until every single person asking for help with their addiction receives that help immediately. Not put on a three week wait list. The help must be immediate because a one day delay, can be one day too late for far to many. They deserve better and so do the families that love them.

I was recently invited on a podcast called Undercover Mental Health. Steve Serbic is a Surrey Firefighter who has seen first hand the impact of the illicite drug trade and Undercover Mental Health is his podcast. Please find two links below.

The first podcast is called The Burden of Abuse in which I discuss presentations I have given and the impact of emotional pain and how our emotional pain can be so prevalent in self medicating with drugs and alcohol simply to “quiet” the pain of past experiences or trauma.

The second half of our discussion is called Addiction: A Mother’s Story. The story of my journey with my son. These two sessions go hand in hand. I would suggest listening to The Burden of Abuse first and Addiction A Mother’s Story second to get the full message and complete story I am trying to share. I am sure you will see yourself and your addicted loved one in these two podcasts. They are free podcasts – you just have to hit the links indicated.


As we say goodbye to 2020, I hope that 2021 brings you and your loved ones the peace and contentment and happiness you all so deserve. Remember – we are making progress – we cannot slow down.

Remember to take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself is not a luxury. It is a necessity.

Much love to you all,


9 thoughts on “2020 The Year Drug Poisoning Took A Tremendous Tole

  1. Kathryn Rushford

    Thank you for this post. I agree. My son died of drug poisoning not a drug overdose. I will be saying that from now on. It may open the door for me to talk to others about what is really happening.

    1. Thank you for your note Kathy. I appreciate you taking the time to write.

      The words we use, the words others use – they matter. And it honours your son by telling his truth. He never chose to use a poisoned supply but unknown to him that is what he was given. And that is absolutely tragic.

      You are in my thoughts Kathy. I hope you are taking care of yourself and again thank you for your note.

      Much love,

  2. Penny Douglass

    I so agree with your philosophy June. My son currently finished Detox in Fraser Health Auth. & now has been waiting 4 days for a treatment bed, at a facility that said they would take him,when he had detoxed. Not their fault as everywhere is filled to capacity. Our system needs to do much better in the continuum of care. This is a huge gap. It sets folks up,who are full of good intentions & feeling healthy, to isolate & self sabotage leading to relapse. Tough for us mothers to watch & feel helpless. I hope 2021 brings more $ & awareness to this other pandemic. Thanks for all you do!

    1. Thank you so much for your note Penny. Your son’s wait/delay in getting a space is completely unacceptable. When someone we love decides to go for help – it must be immediate and consistent with follow through. There can not be this process of delay – that is completely unacceptable and cruel. And sadly as you indicate, often leads to sabotage and relapse.

      You mention your son went through detox in the Fraser Health Authority Penny. Is he still down here on the Lower Mainland waiting for his bed to open up? Does he have support down here? Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. If it looks like there will be further delays please let me know and I will do everything I can to help get him into another good place. Just let me know.

      Take care my Friend.
      You and he are in my thoughts,

      1. Penny Douglass

        Thanks for your reply June. Yes my son is still waiting. He is hoping to get into InnerVisions, he got out of Creekside detox on Tues. I believe he is at Salvation Army,shelter in Maple Ridge. He has contact with a case worker there but because of the holiday days they have not been as available. He is hoping for Mon. now. I hope & pray he can hang in there. He is getting Methadone so that helps but he does ‘ top it up’ in stressful times. As f yesterday he said he was clean! I am in Kamloops so not much we can do.

  3. Beverly

    Those that have not had their life affected by this Monster do not understand so one tends to not say too much! They have no idea how much their words hurt!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to write and share your important words Beverly.

      If people would only realize the impact of their words and choose them carefully before voicing them – a tremendous amount of emotional pain and heartache could be averted.

      We cannot un-hear the words that were said and the impact of those words can be devastating for someone struggling with the disease of addiction to hear and for those of us who love them.

      Our internal dialogue is already engaged in enough self-blame or self-doubt. If only we ould quiet our own thoughts.

      Unless someone has walked in similar shoes – they have no idea of the pain, heartbreak, devastation and fear those struggling with addiction face every day and that we as their loved ones face every day.

      Kindness. Compassion. Understanding.

      Thank you for your note Beverly.

      Take care.

  4. Linda Eagland

    Well said June and the fight continues !! The petition I sent was not read before Christmas but I have been promised that in the New Year it will be…we will see.
    Addiction issues always seem to be put on the “back burner” as far as the government is concerned when it should be on the forefront. So many lives being lost as I write this and it is heartbreaking !! Let us hope that 2021 does bring some monumental changes…
    Happy New Year

    1. Your petition Lin will without a doubt have an impact. It must have an impact. Our leaders can no long as you say put the issue of addiction on the “back burner”. More loved ones were lost to illicit drug related deaths this past year in B.C. than of Covid 19. Both issues are taking lives at an alarming rate. We have to continue to pressure our leaders to put the same level of concern into both issues equally.
      You fought so hard for Justin – an absolutely beautiful person just like his Mom, and you honour him every single day fighting for others. You, my Friend, are one of the change-makers, a Mom making a difference and fighting to hold government accountable in implementing change to help those struggling with this most unforgiving of diseases. Sadly it will be too late for far too many. History will look back on this time and wonder “what took them so long”? But – we will get there.
      Change will happen. It has too.
      Take care my Friend – you are in my thoughts.

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