'People are dying. Something needs to be done'

Jim Day
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Dianne Young of Charlottetown holds a photo of her and son Lennon Waterman during a happier period in her son's life.

Grieving mother calls for improvements to addictions services and mental health system

Dianne Young is certain her son is dead.

She believes her 29-year-old boy, Lennon Waterman, chose to end his life by leaping into the cold North River Friday night, leading to a search for a body that days later has still not been found.

“Oh, there is no question that it was my son,’’ says Young. “I really have no hope that he will be found alive.’’

RELATED ARCHIVE STORY - Search continues . . .

The tragic end, the Charlottetown mother believes, was a long time in the making.

Young says her son lived the past decade in utter turmoil in harm-filled years fueled by drugs and also, mom is quite sure, mired in mental illness.

“My son has been tormented and tortured by drug addiction and mental illness for nine years,’’ says Young, who visited The Guardian Tuesday to talk about her son.

“So I have been grieving the loss of my son for nine years. When I would see my son, I wouldn’t really see him. I would see glimpses of him sometimes.’’

Young says Waterman never received either the right help, or enough of it, from addiction treatment and mental health services.

He dried out a few times at the Provincial Addictions Treatment Facility in Mount Herbert, but each of those reprieves was short lived, she said.

He spent a few stints in jail for petty theft (stealing a pair of gloves), public disturbance and breach of probation. He emerged from prison each time, notes mom, more damaged than when he entered.

“He never had any period of time when he was straight...his mind was always so tormented with his mental illness,’’ says Young. “Over the past two years now, it really went downhill fast. He was homeless. He had no place to live...he was living under a cardboard box last winter.’’

Young didn’t know how to come to her son’s aid. She urged him to seek help. He would not.

She tried tough love. That didn’t work.

Her husband, Waterman’s stepfather, took an even sterner approach, drawing firm boundaries like barring him from the family home unless he cleaned up. Again, no success.

“I was tormented,’’ says Young. “Everybody in the family was tormented. Addiction is a family disease. Everyone’s affected.’’

Her marriage nearly succombed to the failed attempts to address Waterman’s addiction problem.

“He would call me and say, ‘Mom, my heart is broken’ and I would say ‘Lennon, would you just get some help. Go see a doctor.’ And he wouldn’t.’’

Young is not fixated on holding people to account for her son’s death.

First, she is quick to extend appreciation to all involved in the search for Waterman, which was sparked when police received a call shortly after 10 p.m. Friday of a suspicious male on the North River causeway that resulted in the RCMP finding some clothing, leading them to suspect a person had gone into the river.

Young would later identify the clothing as belonging to Waterman.

She also is eager to thank all the people who have extended kind words.

“There have been so many people praying for us, I know,’’ she says.

Above all, though, Young has come forward to talk about her son’s tragic life in hopes of saving others.

She does not want the troubled life of Waterman, once a handsome young man holding on to grandiose dreams like one day becoming an actor in New York, to have ended without some positive outcome down the road.

“I hope that he didn’t die in vain,’’ she says. “I hope that by him dying maybe some other people can be saved by this (story).’’

More must be done, Young insists, to help Islanders in the throes of addiction and mental illness — a damaging reality the provincial government appears to have grasped having recently announced plans to spend $1.2 million in new initiatives to deal with prescription drug addiction in the province and in appointing a specialist to come up with a long-term strategy to improve mental health and addictions services.

Young is adamant in calling for an improved system.

“I’m not going to blame addictions services or the mental health community or anything like that for my son’s death,’’ she says.

“But I want to say this: that most of the people that work in those areas have their hands tied and probably feel much like I do about how things are not working.

“Take a look, open your eyes,’’ she stresses. “People are dying. Something needs to be done.’’

Organizations: Provincial Addictions Treatment Facility, RCMP

Geographic location: North River, Charlottetown, Mount Herbert New York

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Recent comments

  • To ted
    November 17, 2013 - 15:14

    Drug addiction affects every one and I am sure this mother has had a lot of pain to endure . People that blame the parents have no clue what they are talking about . Any one from all walks of life can have this in their family . And I don't think people should be making statements how a parent writes someone off or that it is all out them etc It affects everyone in some way from the healthcare system , judicial system etc . So yeah it even effects you .

  • From the West Coast
    November 15, 2013 - 10:32

    When I first read this story, it sent shivers through my bones. I know that river. The banks are low and it’s a cold cold river. And it’s a river than can be found in any city, town or village around the world. We have a similar river out here on the West Coast, bloated with the body and souls of many. Many people, in fact know this river well; addict, alcoholic or family member or friend of, we know that river. But you can’t drain the river. It’s always going to be there. Draining it is like trying to remove sin (bad behavior)from humanity. You can’t build a fence around it; people will just climb it; some, in fact, will break down the fence just to exercise a right. Asking the government to keep people from going to the river is like asking the government to regulate the speed limit in the Indy 500. It just ain’t gonna happen. The government in the wrong 'source'. Sure, the government can spend millions of dollars trying, perhaps making themselves look good in the process, but the real answer is in a Grass Roots movement. The first Twelve-Step program was a grass roots movement. But now, the disease has a stronger weapon. The drugs are more dangerous, more easily obtained and much more addictive. I’m sorry for your loss. Truly truly sorry. And as I said, it sent shivers through my bones. I'm not about to provide an answer. I don't have one. Nor will I blame, because I don't know who to blame. I, like so many people, wish I had an answer. But I don’t. Perhaps people just need to meet down by the river and see what happens.

  • Hilary Hawkins
    November 15, 2013 - 08:28

    My heart truly goes out to the mother and family of this tragic young man. This sadly is what drugs do, the best high? is a natural one, laughing at some funny joke and being out with genuine friends, But I guess its tougher these days being young. I so hope he is found so that his family can find some semblance of peace....God Bless

  • matta
    November 14, 2013 - 22:42

    Thanks for making my family happy again, my father came back home and he can even take us out, something he never think of before! i wonder Dr egbenakhue are you god or what? amazing you make things happen! i will .Thank you very much. from Holland if you need his help contact email address Dr egbenakhuespelltemple@gmail.com

  • in my opinion
    November 14, 2013 - 15:33

    in my opinion your opinion is stupid and you clearly don't know what you are talking about or have any experience with what you are spewing off about so try keeping it to yourself

  • tammy
    November 14, 2013 - 03:18

    My heart goes out to you Dianne I lost a brother in 2003 with addiction/mental health issues and it just tore me apart and still does until this day. Something needs to be done. This disease is taking way to many lives and needs to be addressed in how they can make changes to this system to save peoples lives. All the best to you Dianne may god bless you. Hugs

  • mike
    November 13, 2013 - 21:21

    1Dianne is soo right! These people need real help! UNDERSTAND Goverment that we the people elected! You Better!

  • Gordon Smith
    November 13, 2013 - 20:06

    Diane--After reading your story I feel really blessed to have a daughter and g/daughter that do not have any addictions. So sorry for your loss,and what really makes it sad is that you lost your son for 9 years-wish things could have turned out better. My deepest sympathy

  • in my opinion
    November 13, 2013 - 18:27

    Addiction and mental health treatment is a voluntary service (unless arrested under the mental health act and kept under form). This means that unless people are ready and willing to get the help, the service providers are only able to do so much. This means longer wait times for those that are wanting to get help. It ties the hands of the professionals, as they cannot force people to seek treatment. As a side note, many people who are court ordered to get help do not do so and are never breached. As this is the only legal way of ensuring people get treatment, maybe we should be asking probation services to be harsher on the offenders and to breach when addictions or mental health appts are missed. The best way to deal with this is through prevention and education. If you are a family member dealing with addictions or mental health, get involved with the family programs. There is excellent information to be provided, including the best ways to help your loved ones. Listening to commenters on the Guardian is probably not helpful, as there are clearly many with unfounded opinions.

    • Parent
      November 14, 2013 - 06:19

      You are making it sound like there is treatment to be had... and that is not the case. People should educate themselves on what is available on PEI before they speak with such authority. I know of many youth and sadly, I do mean many, youth that have tried to stop abusing opiates and should have received help instantly but were denied any help at all. The "mystery methadone" list is controlled by a select group of people on PEI. In order to receive it, you must demonstrate that you are "committed". I actually know of people who were told that they "weren't addicted enough" to be put on the list and of others, that only got methadone (after multiple detox visits) when they became hepatitis c positive. No one makes a diabetic "prove they are committed" or "hit rock bottom" before they receive insulin. It has been well proven that even those people who think they can't do it or aren't 100% committed respond extremely well when they receive methadone or suboxone. People need to start treating addiction like the disease. Stopping the taking or abuse of drugs is the first step and this is where PEI is failing miserably. Anyone who wants help should have it instantly.... not three years later. Imagine if your son or daughter had cancer and we said they would only get treatment when they "hit rock bottom" or in the midst of their illness, had to prove they were ready to stop.... PEI parents... stand up and demand better. No other province has such ridiculous rules in place...and where is Doug Currie's new program. It took him a year to announce it and he will probably delay implementing it until just before election time.

    • Pastor Keith
      November 14, 2013 - 15:02

      Trust me the drug epidemic is getting worse and there are people like myself that have been called to work with recovering addicts. We have helped over 5000 people find freedom. I used to pastor a church in PEI but I was full of addictions myself. I even became suicidal because of molestation as a child. right in a building of a church by a church leader

  • Marla
    November 13, 2013 - 17:40

    I agree! It's time to start lobbying government !! Diane, contact me please!

  • Crystal
    November 13, 2013 - 17:24

    I understand what's its like I have been fighting with the government for 5 years as my son is now 17 and just went back to the youth center after a freak out smashing walls with golf clubs while under the influence if drugs not 4 days before thîs I asked his probation officer for help yet again and all the did was drop him off home and again on high on harsh drugs doing nothing and telling me their hands are tied no where for a 17 year old to go he has been in treatment centers but voluntarily left.so today I sit at home while he sits in the youth center still getting no treatment and when he gets out it will start all over this.when he's out then what?i don't want to bury my 17 year old son so where's the help???????

    • chantal
      January 07, 2014 - 20:45

      my heart goes out to you. XO

  • Grieving Mom
    November 13, 2013 - 16:11

    I too know what it is like to lose someone you love to addictions...in fact...I lost my father, my ex and my two sons and nothing is more painful than having your children taken at an early age. The grip of addiction is so strong, I'm told...only 10% of the addicts make it. Prevention is the key! Let's look at ways to prevent deaths and not lay blame! My heart is breaking for you Diane. My sincere sympathies to you and to your family on the loss of Lennon.

  • Pastor Keith
    November 13, 2013 - 14:29

    Hello from Moncton. I also worked with Lennon in Moncton in recovery. Lennon used to come over to watch hockey games and he was a crazy Montreal fan as I was. My heart is truly broken for Lennon and his mom and I am one who will spend the rest of my life trying to help out the Lennons of the world as you see I too have been an addict and know the mind of an addict. After working on the streets of Phildelphia I know the affects of addiction on the heart of a family and we need to get back to simple times and ask God to heal our land and our addicts minds. The only hope is when God gets rid of drugs once and for all. Look at the video http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=9EB09FNU. Enough is enough. I am willing to lay down my life for the addicted who is with me? If you are interested in hearing my story email me at concertsofhope@yahoo.ca

  • Pastor Keith
    November 13, 2013 - 14:23

    Hello from Moncton. I also worked with Lennon in Moncton in recovery. Lennon used to come over to watch hockey games and he was a crazy Montreal fan as I was. My heart is truly broken for Lennon and his mom and I am one who will spend the rest of my life trying to help out the Lennons of the world as you see I too have been an addict and know the mind of an addict. After working on the streets of Phildelphia I know the affects of addiction on the heart of a family and we need to get back to simple times and ask God to heal our land and our addicts minds. The only hope is when God gets rid of drugs once and for all. Look at the video http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=9EB09FNU. Enough is enough. I am willing to lay down my life for the addicted who is with me?

  • Teds comment
    November 13, 2013 - 13:37

    Ted if you have so much compassion and empathy maybe you could volunteer to open your home to some addictions clients . Comments such as yours amuse me . To the person as well that made the comment they would not see their child living in a cardboard box . Many parents have lost their homes trying to unconditionally love which by being an enabler or codependent , sick themself from the personal, financial , social struggles addiction brings into the family unit . I do not think that tough love is a right off those that think so have not walked in the families of addictions shoes . It's easy to sit back if your lucky enough to point the finger . Of what you would and would not do . Glad for you your living the dream !

  • Teds comment
    November 13, 2013 - 13:35

    Ted if you have so much compassion and empathy maybe you could volunteer to open your home to some addictions clients . Comments such as yours amuse me . To the person as well that made the comment they would not see their child living in a cardboard box . Many parents have lost their homes trying to unconditionally love which by being an enabler or codependent , sick themself from the personal, financial , social struggles addiction brings into the family unit . I do not think that tough love is a right off those that think so have not walked in the families of addictions shoes . It's easy to sit back if your lucky enough to point the finger . Of what you would and would not do . Glad for you your living the dream !

  • Average Joe
    November 13, 2013 - 13:03

    Just wanted to say one thing. I knew Lennon, minor interactions with him for years. At times we'd be acquaintances, other times I wanted to stay clear due to his drug addiction. Lennon wasn't a bad guy. Would say hi, shake hands or slap high fives. I'm currently working as a Police officer out west. When I got the text "do you remember Lennon" I knew the next words would be that he was no longer with us. I quickly got on and read the first article and all updates since. Lennons mother is handling this extremely well. Her message is quite clear and I can't help but agree. I see mothers, fathers, kids and/or grandparents who suffer from alcoholism or drug addiction. I see the direct impact on communities, families and individuals. In the past year I've had 3 regular clients commit suicide due to their struggles. Mixing alcohol with codeine and/or coccaine. Unfortunately they and I both know this is killing them and cannot find an answer. Rehab programs are offered but it's really up to the individual. Families try enabling and tough love, neither works.... I think our government needs to develope federal section to educate our youth within the school systems. People need to know they are not alone in their struggles. Lennons mother is one strong women. Hopefully the loss of Lennon can provoke a change. Stay strong.

  • Darlene
    November 13, 2013 - 12:47

    For those of you that think it is an easy thing to know that you can 't help your children with their addiction To realize that unless you stop enabling them with there addiction they will never face the consequences of their actions. I struggle everyday with not giving in and giving in to the addict and helping with food and smokes. Soon as he gets money that is not usually where it goes I finally realized that the more you help I don't want to help him kill himself. I just hand him over Gid everyday and hope that he can make the choice to get well because in that what has to happen in order for him to survive. Sometimes you here oh when they hit rock bottom they will be ok. Unfortunately some addicts rock bottom is death. We also become As sick as they addict there are sometimes I see myself thinking like the addict .like sometimes I feel I have lost my son to addiction but there are times when I see him . I wish that I could see more of my son and not his addiction but that will only happen when He makes the choice get sober and clean My son and I am sure lots of others sons and daughters they are crosse addicted which means more then one drug So please don't judge other patents if you have never been there. It is one if the hardest choices a parent has to do is let go of their son or daughter and pray that they will want to get helps d get better. Really need more resources for these children.

  • Jen
    November 13, 2013 - 12:26

    This breaks my heart. She is so right. Our mental health and addiction services seem to "pass the puck" when it comes to patient care.. These people need our help and need to be taken seriously... and take their families seriously too...THEY KNOW. I've seen doctors cut off family members and HUSH them when they try to tell them facts to help save their children (young and old!) It's insane. Although this article came about due to an awful situation, I am so glad she has spoken out. I want to hug her so hard. It's time to change!

  • Re reason
    November 13, 2013 - 11:46

    Reason that is easier said than done . When people are using drugs they are not the same child you remember . It is not easy to have in your home a volitile attitude . It's not easy to have a family member steal from you sell your belongings . It's not easy to have your child and his drug addicted friends use your home as party central when you work and destroys your home or you are evicted from a rental unit due to same . Its not easy when there are other children to feed and witness behavior of a sibling who maybe addicted to drugs . You become afraid of the violent behavior displayed upon you by your own flesh and blood as well as his friends . It's not easy to have your child desparate to want you to fork over 6000.00 for a drug bill to the point he hits you or threatens suicide because he can't pay his bill or support his habit . It's not easy when your child borrows your car doesn't come home for three four days or is the cause of a motor vehicle accident . It's not easy to have your child sleep all day drug all night and want a lifestyle provided that you didn't choose . It's just as bad as a bad marriage do not judge what you haven't lived though . Drugs make the addict change .Into someone you do not know . And it is not easy when your child will not change preferring a addiction over his family . It is not easy when there is no resources or treatment acess and someone that would not comply if there was . It is there choice not a parents who sometimes have no other choice . Unless one has been there it's pretty hard to judge . Their addiction becomes the whole families problem .

    • Ted
      November 13, 2013 - 12:27

      Reason you say? I think you missed the point of the article. You don't seem to have much empathy for those addicted to drugs, just anger and bitterness towards them. Of course they're not the same people they used to be. Of course it's a problem for the whole family. But your attitude of writing them off as and dwelling on your personal problem, rather than extending them compassion and support is the exact thing that's wrong. You're the problem. Even after seeing this article, you're still thinking about how addiction affects YOU. Thanks Guardian, your half baked comments never fail to amuse me.

  • Heather
    November 13, 2013 - 11:38

    I have witnessed addiction and mental illness in my family first hand. It tears your heart out daily.Until you have been there please do not judge Diane or anyone else! I have lost friends and family and I know how helpless it makes us feel. I have seen how it destroys the afflicted and everyone involved.

  • Struggling
    November 13, 2013 - 10:55

    I to do not agree with banning a child from home.I could not sleep at night knowing my son was sleeping under a cardboard box. I suffer every day from depression and when I am really down it is my family that I turn to for help.I also have a wonderful councilor who has saved my life a couple of times.People do not understand mental illness .Once someone says they have depression,bi-polar or any other mental illness they treat you differently.It is not catching.. I applaud all the young people who are on the methadone program and they to are treated differently by the community.They should be praised every day at how well they are doing and there should be a program where they can be employed and their wage supplemented by the government.They like the person with mental illness needs to feel as though they are worthy and part of the community.If we have no reason to get up in the morning and do not receive encouragement then there is no accountability so the spiral keeps on going..The community and employers need more education about mental illness and the methadone program.We also need more professionals working in mental health and addictions.Untreated mental illness can lead to addictions. Please do not be critical of these people but try to help them even if it is a moment to listen.

    • Mother of a Broken Heart
      November 13, 2013 - 12:13

      Our son has lost his job, has no direct plans, and needs a place to stay. We did the "tough love" when we threw him out of our home for drugs. Now with prescription meds being so accessible on our streets, he uses what ever he can crush and snort. He will be coming home soon, the weather is getting cold. He says he is trying to get off "the hard stuff" Our love is endless. We know his moving in may only be temporary for if we find drugs in our home, we will once again have to remove him. The number of addicts on PEI is growing. Our children are becoming addicted at a younger age. Our sons purchased it in high-school and when I reported the dealer to the principal he simply warned the boys mother that I was calling the police. This boy continued to deal in the school parking lot. Even the police were shocked that the principal would not have asked for their intervention and catching this dealer. Those who are ignoring the problem in our schools, are only adding to it. We need a zero tolerance policy. I don't pray. I gave up on God a long time ago. I do hold out hope that our son will overcome this addiction, or that he will seek help. We see in his eyes how it has affected him. It is leaving him a hollow shell of himself. Our son is only 23. He smoked his first joint at age 15. For those who say marijuana is not the "gateway" drug, let me tell you that you are very wrong. My heart breaks for the family of Lennon Waterman. I hope we never have to endure the pain of losing our son to addictions that lead to mental health needs.

    • Quiet Observer
      November 13, 2013 - 12:33

      There is a big difference between banning someone from the home for mental illness and for addiction. As other posters here have mentioned, in many cases if you have the addict who is in severe craving stage in your home, you will wake up in the morning or come home from work to find everything of value in your home gone and sold on the street or pawned. You will be harassed and threatened. What needs to be understood is that an opiate addict becomes possessed by the addiction and becomes a person you do not even recognize. Their only thought is to somehow get more opiates and they thought of who it may hurt or ruin to get them does not even enter their mind. They will rob, threaten, manipulate and con whoever, wherever to get their fix. The saddest part is, once they have their fix and are back to thinking normal again, they many times do not even realize what they have done. And many times when they do, they feel so guilty and bad that they hate themselves. then the pills start wearing off, the addiction takes over, and the vicious circle starts again. I sincerely hope that anyone out there living with this never has to. But, at the same time, maybe if everyone did experience this they would understand the pain.

  • Crystal
    November 13, 2013 - 10:43

    Something has been needing to be done for years. I have tried so hard after addiction destroyed my family, and drove my father to also commit suicide almost 8 years ago. It does not no good when those that are in a position to help, just shrug their shoulders and washes their hands of the situation. It does not even have to be drug addicts either. My father, 3 days before he died, was clean and sober for 6 months before his death, went to the hospital because he felt suicidal... What happened but the psyc doctor on call sent him home, told him to call his sponsor!... Fast forward a couple years, my own husband is suicidal, so goes to the hospital... Same psyc doctor that sent my father home is on call and guess what, he sent my husband home too! His reason for sending my husband home was because he was "very smart and aware of your situation"... his exact flipping words... Being smart and aware, or being an addict or former addict should never ever be an excuse to not treat someone. This doctor has caused Lord knows how many deaths, and yet he is still a doctor here! Addictions services and mental health needs to be combined. EVERY ADDICT IS AN ADDICT FOR A REASON... Lets treat that reason and the addiction... I am tried of seeing folks dying because the government does not want to spend the time or money to help it's own citizens! Building a center for youth is great, but only takes care of part of the problem... Something for sure needs to be done, and be done quick or more people are going to die!

  • Skeptical
    November 13, 2013 - 10:24

    Methadone and other drugs becoming savior to addicts,it's a joke,all it does is stop the stealing. Getting addicts off 1 drug to put them on another is insanity. There is 2 natural roots out there that Gov. will never implement because it resets your addiction.There is 3 or 4 places in Canada private i might add that use these roots with great success.Ibogaine is one of them. They also need and assortment of vitamins and minerals which most addiction centers don't believe is needed . When you are trained to use Drugs to solve a problem everyday vitamins and minerals is a joke to them. But they are needed because addicts a deficient in them. They are your first defense. Lack of vitamins and minerals is when you have mental health issues. Factory farming and the petrochemicals sprayed on our food is the root cause. Been there and been looking into this for 5 years.Big pharma is there to make money and Health Canada is of no help either allowing these addictive drugs to pass so quickly.

    • Quiet Observer
      November 13, 2013 - 12:23

      And you are of no help to us either because you don't give enough specifics about what you speak for anyone to make use of it. fact is, methadone is a great help as it first gets the addiction switched to something legal and available and gets the addict stable and able to function. Once this is done, then the gradual weaning off the methadone can be done. This is no joke - it is working. What many out there don't realize is that when on the opiates, the addicts do not appear stoned out of their trees or are out there committing the crimes. It is when their bodies are craving the opiates that the bad behavior comes out and the crimes are committed. Control the cravings, you stabilize the life, stabilize the life, you can work on cleaning them up.

    • Parent
      November 13, 2013 - 13:01

      Methadone and suboxone are both drugs that stop the physical craving of opiates which is a medical condition. Otherwise your body goes into withdrawal. I know all about this because I have two addicted children. Both of these drugs are extremely effective and do way, way more than "stop stealing". Obviously you are another of the "experts" that don't know what you are talking about. Getting my kids on these drugs saved their lives, allowing them to hold jobs, attend school and to be productive. After they started on methadone and the cravings stopped, and their brains were under their control again, they were able to make good decisions. It is truly a miracle to see how well they are doing. And to all those out there who think that "methadone is just substituting one addiction for another" answer this question - is it any different than a diabetic who requires insulin? Insulin is not a cure, it is a treatment. Methadone is not a cure for addiction, it is a treatment of a disease.

    • Skeptical
      November 13, 2013 - 20:17

      Quiet observerI've been in all of those shoes. Go to the US see the long lines of people waiting for there fix in the morning. Methadone is being traded on the streets now, is it helping any of those people? I think NOT.Methadone is highly addictive and just as bad if not worse to get off i've seen it with my own eyes. Ask some of the addicts how long they been on the stuff? Look up Ibogaine and its effects on addictions,stops it in its tracks. LEGAL also but Gov will never implement it. Meaning they will never use it in treatment centers.Toronto Ibogaine Centre, do some research. treating an addict with another addictive drug is insanity.

    • Another Mother
      March 24, 2016 - 10:24

      I too have a son who was addicted to dilaudid then in the methadone program. He is now drug free & even quit smoking after going to the Ibogaine Center in Toronto. He has been clean for just over a year and my son is back! This program is miraculous.

  • Patricia MacDonald
    Patricia MacDonald
    November 13, 2013 - 10:10

    I commend you Dianne this is so sad and true we grieved our Oldest Brother for years he may have died alone in a motel room surrounded by drugs and alcohol on this cold December 19, 1998 but he died many years before his body did , was missing for years and we never knew the not knowing where they are if they are dead somewhere is the worst at least now we know where he is so we have a place to go May God Bless You it is the very worst pain for Parents

  • Nancy Stewart
    November 13, 2013 - 09:44

    Diane I am so proud of you for speaking out for other families who might go through this horrific pain and tragedy you are going through. Because I know you as a close friend, I know you were a great Mother who always was there for her Children. Lennon would be so proud of you for taking this step to save others. I pray that this Island will become the center of Addictions so families can get the help they need. My Prayers continue for you and your family.

  • Reason
    November 13, 2013 - 09:11

    ''Barring him from the family home unless he cleaned up'', is exactly the wrong thing to do. This will further the gap that already exists between you. I hear parents use the threat of "not under my roof" so often, and if they do kick their kid out of their house for struggling with an addiction, the kid's going to be homeless or living with some junkies, furthering his integration with this lifestyle. Please parents, casting your child away for using drugs is the worst decision you could make. Don't do it.

    • Quiet Observer
      November 13, 2013 - 10:09

      This is not a fair blanket statement to make. And this is actually a recommendation that counselors at Mt. Herbert give to families - to stop "enabling" the addiction by appearing to accept it and to take the tough love stand. After 10 years of struggling with this with a family member I know have great suddenness for this outcome. There is no one set procedure or process for dealing with these situations. Every one is different. The ONLY thing that has helped my son has been methadone. We need to triple the size of the PEI program, now. The cost of the methadone is not an issue as any parent, or addict if they can, will gladly pay for the methadone if that's what it takes (just get rid of the daily dispensing fees the pharmacy's take).

    • Family Friend
      November 13, 2013 - 10:15

      Dear Reason, if you think that the decisions to ban your child from you home is easy you are wrong. Sometimes it is the only way that the remainder of the family can have any quality of life. When they show up out of their minds and start stealing, harrassing and all other kinds of things that do not need to be discussed here....you have to protect the remainder of your family. This family did the best they could and it ended tragically. I hope that you never have to make such a decision with any of your children but unless you are a certifited counsellor who knows how to deal with addictions, keep your opinions to yourself. No one cast him away!!!!

    • Recovering addict
      November 13, 2013 - 10:49

      I hated my parents for doing this BUT it was the BEST thing that ever happened to me. Thanks to their decision I have been clean and sober for four years. Today I can thank them for their tough love. That's a very easy statement to make unless you have been in the exact same situation as Dianne and her family.

    • Really??
      November 13, 2013 - 11:14

      So then what is the right way to handle the situation? I am going to make an assumption that you personally do not have a son or daughter addicted to drugs living in YOUR home, stealing your hard earned money, or destroying/stealing your property. I'll also dare say that you have never had to put a padlock on your bedroom door and lock anything remotely sentimental in a lock box hidden under your bed in your locked room, had to sleep with your car keys under your pillow, or buy back your own tv from a pawn shop...because your 'child' NEEDED a fix and had no money. I cannot see how you could possibly have dealt with any of these things, and have that view. I 100% agree that "get out" isn't a solution to addiction. My family has dealt with addiction for a long time. Different people, different addictions...all with one common truth, that you cannot help somebody who doesn't want help, or doesn't think they need it. Enabling that person to live in your home and not be accountable for their own life, is not a solution either...and sometimes you simply need to remove them to avoid destroying the entire family. The sad truth is that the only way to overcome, is for something to spark in the particular addict that makes them say "I don't want to live this way, I need help"...sometimes that boot out the door gives them a serious wakeup call that they are going to lose their family if they don't do something to change, and they seek help. Sometimes, however, they understand this fact and still just don't care...letting them reside in your home is only going to make their life easier, and make them care less. There is no accountability...no consequence to the life they are living, then the people suffering the most are their family members who have to watch them slowly kill themselves without a care. There really is no cut and dry way to handle addiction, because every addict is different, and every family dealing is different...but sometimes the only thing there is left to do, when you have exhausted all other avenues, is cut that person loose and let them fall. Let's be clear that this isn't something anybody ever 'wants' to do, but to say that nobody ever should...well maybe you need to step into their shoes before you preach. People aren't 'doing it wrong'...because there is really no wrong way, you try whatever avenues you can to help the people you love. People do not need lectures and opinions from those who have never been in their position, they need the resources and the support to actually do something that will make a difference. It makes me angry that this woman lost her son, then shared his story and their family struggle to educated others...only to have you comment and say they handled it wrong. So, again I ask...what is the RIGHT way?

    • until you walk in my shoes
      November 13, 2013 - 11:27

      To "reason" have you walked in my shoes? have you been the parent struggling with their child in addiction? because if you haven't then you have no idea what you talk of,,, no sleep if they are in the house, no sleep if they are out of the house,,, never knowing what is going to come up missing this time,,,or the perpetual lies that come with it,,, it is not a choice any parent makes easily to do the "tuff love" it is when you are at the end of your emotional rope!!

    • Stacey
      November 13, 2013 - 11:33

      @:Reason: you have no clue what your talking about!!!!! Walk in the shoes of the parent with the child with the addiction.Then maybe you will change your mind!!!!

    • Sometimes family has to step back
      November 13, 2013 - 11:50

      I don't see that at any point they have cast their child away. The choice to bar someone from the family home isn’t an easy one. In retrospect, I wish my parents had done that with members of our family; then perhaps some of my generation wouldn't see being drunk or using drugs as a norm. And maybe in turn our children wouldn’t be subjected to the same things. It isn't with ease that I refuse many in my family access to the home I have worked very hard to obtain and the things in it. And most importantly I do not allow them near my children unless I am well aware of their state at that point in time. I would love to allow my children easy and ready access to their family members, but more importantly I owe it to them to see that first and foremost, they are safe and secondly that they have the ability to deal with such things before I place that expectation on them. I cannot hide the fact from my children, but I also cannot expect my 3 year old to understand. While I would love to “fix” those in my family whom need help, I need to protect my children first and foremost. I know how horrible I feel making this choice with older members of my family, I can’t imagine what these people must have felt like when it was their child. My heart goes out to them.

  • Teresa
    November 13, 2013 - 09:03

    My heart breaks for you Dianne Young. You are right. More needs to be done. I am fortunate that for today my son is clean and sober. Thank you for speaking out! My sympathies to you and your family.

  • LCB
    November 13, 2013 - 08:57

    Bless you Family for the suffering you endure.I am of two minds where treatments are concerned . I was put on medication for depression while my alcoholism was in full swing.I believe the psychiatric industry is just that...an industry, fueled by pharmaceutical giants who encourage GP's to put us ALL on medication at the first mention of any problem rather than treat the problem .No time or money and many of out Physicians are overwhelmed with how to treat the BEAST of addiction. While in British Columbia at yet another treatment facility a few years back, methadone was a SHORT TERM TREATMENT ONLY.It was highly encouraged by recovery groups and the medical profession as a whole to get people OFF METHADONE. Do addicts realise that they are causing much damage to their bodies by choosing this option? My fellow re-hab mates at the time ALL went to detox after 6 months clean and sober to make the final 2 week detox off methadone.....and then they were on their way to a new life free of the bonds of having to be chained to the nearest Pharmacy for their next "dose".One girl in particular who I keep contact with just got married and is a straight A university Grad. I do not understand why we have the methadone program. My impression is that it is antiquated and keeps people sick. As for the family of this poor young man and all the rest in this province, my prayers and condolences to you all who still suffer. My heart truly goes out to you. I just had surgery off Island and the pain medicine used was Toradol, a NON ADDICTIVE pain killer which worked a charm after major abdominal surgery. Why are we still giving narcotics post op for instance when in many instances we could use Toradol through the I.V like I had. When I found out the name of the med, I was astounded at how well it worked! My niece had her gall bladder out a couple of years ago and she was given Hydro_morphone....the powerful narcotic.AND was sent home with a prescription for it !.If she has been given Toradol, it would have worked just as well I am sure. My advice for ANYONE on methadone....try to get off it and be clean and free at last and be VERY WARY of the Psychiatric Industry.Once you get on the unit 9 path, it is hard to turn back.I can speak from experience having been a patient .I was immediately out on a cocktail of drugs in there...none of which I take today.

  • Florence (Miller) Tooke
    November 13, 2013 - 08:43

    Oh my sweet Diane. You are such a strong and wonderful person. This tragic loss just breaks my heart. You are so right about the mental health system, and it is also our Health System in general. A lot of us have gone through this with a loved one and even ourselves at times. It is the hardest thing to cope with for everyone who loves them. My love and prayers go out to you and your family. Love to you all. Florence

  • Every family deals with addiction / mental health
    November 13, 2013 - 08:41

    Mental health and Addictions affects every family on this Island! There is a stigma on these two issues that prevent people from asking for help! But more People are asking for help! I have wonderful members in my family that deal with addictons , as a society we feel alcohol is so acceptable . Every gathering is accompanied by alcohol . I pray for this young man and his family that they will find peace

  • Recovering Addict
    November 13, 2013 - 07:50

    Damn right something needs to be done. I have been in despair in my addiction and attempted suicide on a few occasions. Thank God I'm on the Methadone program and have found a new way of life. Nobody knows what the suffering addict is going through unless you have been there yourself. All people see is the negetive outcome from the suffering addicts actions. They don't see the addict crying them self to sleep at night, or contemplating suicide. The guilt, shame and remourse they go through over their actions and damage they're causing their family, the community, or themselves. I pray this new investment in addiction pays for itself 10 fold. Actually, I know not will. Thank you God... I'm sorry addiction had to take Lennons life before this investment could be implemented. I know it would have saved his life too!! RIP and my condolences to his family xoxo

    • Just a Thought
      November 13, 2013 - 09:58

      Why did you start taking drugs to begin with? Children need to be taught right from wrong at an early age. Why is it the Tax Payers responsible to take care of you now...Don't start, no guilt, no shame, no remorse. And yes I have people in my life with addictions, there is no reason why they can't help themselves. We all have our crosses to bare.

    • ChrisP
      November 13, 2013 - 14:40

      In response to "Just a Thought", the notion that people become addicts because they weren't "taught right from wrong" is a dangerous and misleading stereotype. Most addicts are people who are damaged in some way; whether they suffer from mental illness, abuse or some other problem, and they self-medicate with alcohol or drugs to try and survive their pain. No one chooses to become an addict, and no amount of teaching right from wrong can change it.

    • re: Just a Thought
      November 14, 2013 - 09:11

      Enlighten me please on how my own parents raised four children in the same house, with the same teachings and rules...and one out of those four became an addict. It certainly wasn't because my parents didn't teach us right from wrong, nor was it their fault. When my mother died a few months ago, I was in such a state that the doctor who pronounced her immediately wrote me a prescription for Ativan...this doctor didn't know me, didn't know my history, yet without question passed me some drugs to help me cope. Sometimes that is exactly how people get started, no matter what they have been taught. It's how my own brother got started years ago. He didn't go out seeking heroin or meth, our father was ill and he was given 'medication' to help him deal with stress and anxiety. He then became dependant on being medicated, and in time the pills weren't enough and he moved on to more serious drugs. It isn't always as black and white as you seem to think, and if doctors are freely throwing drugs at every person who has stress, it's not surprising that so many people move on to more serious drugs. It isn't because they don't know it's "wrong"...they all surely do.

    • Pastor Keith
      November 14, 2013 - 15:13

      Recovering addict. We have helped people get off methodone once and for all. For everyone else out there who is struggling, there is hope. I travel around the Maritimes setting people free from addiction of all kinds. We help people through skype or by a personal visit.

  • Saddened
    November 13, 2013 - 07:04

    I am so very sorry for what you are going through. I hope this will open some eyes and people can get the help they need. I am currently going through the same thing with a sibling and it is so very hard. I was friends with Lennon for 14 years, he was a great guy.

  • John MacDonald
    November 13, 2013 - 06:30

    Diane, I don't know you but thank you for speaking out. I am so very sorry for your loss. To speak up constructively here requires bravery. Your voice is important in raising awareness of the broad misunderstandings of mental illness. As a culture, we don't expect a man with a broken leg to run. Yet, we expect those with mental deficiencies to function fully. Because mental illness is so little understood, it remains a stigma and great burden for families suffering. Diane, may your words reach those who can make a difference.

  • Vick
    November 13, 2013 - 06:00

    I feel so bad for this family......God Bless!