Charlottetown mother fights for better addiction services

Teresa Wright
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Dianne Young plans protest outside Province House next month

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

A P.E.I. woman who believes her son took his own life as a result of drug addiction is taking her concerns over Prince Edward Island’s opiate “epidemic” to the province’s lawmakers.

Dianne Young plans to stage a protest in front of Province House in April when the legislative session resumes. She says she believes too many Islanders are struggling with addictions to prescription pills with not enough options for treatment.

“I think people need to open their eyes and see what’s going on in this Island, this gentle Island that we get tourists to come to. The reality is, we have a lot of drug addicts on this gentle Island,” Young said.

Her 29-year-old son, Lennon Waterman, has been missing since early November. She believes he took his own life by leaping into the cold North River.

Police received a report Nov. 8, 2013, of a suspicious male on the North River causeway. After a search of the area, RCMP found some clothing, leading them to suspect a person had gone into the river.

Young later identified the clothing as belonging to Waterman. He has not been heard from since and no body has yet been found.

Young says her son spent the last decade tormented by mental illness, hooked on highly potent and addictive prescription drugs.

But she is now turning her grief into determination to fight for improved services for a growing number of Islanders like her son who are abusing and addicted to prescription pills.

“I think it’s time to take a stand,” she said.

Young is planning to protest the lack of government investment in treatment services for the growing number of Islanders getting hooked on opiates.

She criticized spending on initiatives like the Trans-Canada Highway realignment project, known as the Plan B highway, and other provincial expenditures — saying these monies could have been spent on better rehabilitation services.

“We need a treatment centre here. We don’t need to be sent off of the Island.”

Young has taken her concerns to social media encouraging others to join her upcoming protest.

Her son was born April 14. He would have been 30 this year. Young is planning the protest for the following day.

“My son ended his life. He was addicted to Percocets, Dilaudid, Oxycontin. He was also mentally ill,” she said.

“People have to know what’s going on in P.E.I., and if we can spend millions of dollars on roads, we can spend a little bit on a treatment centre to treat these people that are addicted.”

 

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: Islanders, Province House, RCMP Trans-Canada Highway

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, North River

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Recent comments

  • Anonymous
    July 07, 2014 - 08:46

    I totally agree with you! I no a few people in this situation but there's no help they have to wait months if not years to get into treatment that's ridiculas, these people need your help , I know someone who had to take them she stopped taking them and didn't know what was wrong with her she was so sick she thought she was going to die, and she probably would of if it wasn't for a friend of her to rush her to the doctor so they told her that she was addicted she can't stop taking them till they can get her help, and they say it could take up to a year because there was so many people waiting to get into treatment as well, doesn't that tell you right there that's you obvisusly need another treatment centre , pei did nothing what so ever for her and she's in New Brunswick right now getting he help she never got here!

  • Maddy
    March 25, 2014 - 12:13

    I totally agree with this woman. I was sent off island to get help with my addiction to pills. A lot of my friends are addicted to pills , and they're on their way to death as well , and theres no help for them. WE NEED MORE TREATMENT FOR THESE PEOPLE!!! IT IS NOT A JOKE. They are good people who made bad choices , they deserve a chance just like everyone else.

  • ...
    March 25, 2014 - 09:48

    i really hate how on any article in the guardian there is always someone who comments about tax payers money, i would rather see it go towards helping people than it go towards a new horse barn or to improving the bingo society (160,000$) ... She fighting for a good cause, PEI needs this very badly to help our community and our people. I congratulate this lady on her strength and courage to stand up and fight for something that matters!!

  • david
    March 25, 2014 - 03:28

    So why is it the Government's and taxpayers problem to deal all these people who freely took the drugs to start with. I am sick and tired of every whiner who thinks the Government should use my tax dollars to look after people who freely either started and got addicted to drugs and alcohol. No one held these people down and pushed the drugs or alcohol down their throat. They are all adults and as such they have responsibility for their actions and what they use or put into their bodies. If the started as children then put the blame where it belongs on the parents not on society or the taxpayers who now some people think should pay to treat these people. If the started drugs or alcohol and can't get of it on their own then pay for their own treatment or else let their families pay for it.

    • A Mom
      March 25, 2014 - 08:10

      David, your comment was rude! This lady is grieving and is trying it make a difference in the lives of many people affected by drug use. She is not looking for accolade! She is looking for answers. Take a break from your bitterness and try to see where this woman is coming from. Great work, Diane. God speed.

    • justin simmonds
      March 25, 2014 - 08:27

      I hope to goodness that you hold no power over any decision making processes of other peoples day to day lives in ANY field. truly one of the most uneducated like opinions I have ever read in comment sections. ugh. if you are that concerned with what you call ''my tax dollars'' than you should be a front runner in getting the government to open up the spending for treatment services. it is very simple common sense that successful treatment gets the tax money back many times over david. do you have any sweet clue how much it costs to house someone at correctional center.then to pay for probation services to supervise for usually at least 2 years?!!(not all addicts break the law obtw). after successful treatment they go onto gainful employment which contributes back tax money. if you actually truly cared about taxes it is a no brainer to spend on treatment. although I don't think that is your concern, it seems like you would complain about anything if it doent benefit you.

    • Taxpayer
      March 26, 2014 - 14:21

      I totally agree David why should my tax dollars go to help and addict .make a prison for them and let them sweat it out for months clean sweep using the parents of these addicts money not my tax dollars .

    • wow
      March 29, 2014 - 18:42

      Well I am so glad that you and everyone that you hold dear to yourself are perfect and don't need help with any addiction. I pay taxes as well and would rather see my money going to a GOOD program that WORKS for addictions then I would see it go to help government officials get even more for nothing. Until YOU or someone you love goes through this downward spiral I think you should research your topic completely before judging others. There are many reasons for addiction and some are medical, so lets hope for everybody who may call you friend or family don't "freely" start or get addicted because if they do then you will be absolutely no help to them when they will need you the most. Not all addicts do this because they want to.

    • wow
      March 29, 2014 - 18:43

      Well I am so glad that you and everyone that you hold dear to yourself are perfect and don't need help with any addiction. I pay taxes as well and would rather see my money going to a GOOD program that WORKS for addictions then I would see it go to help government officials get even more for nothing. Until YOU or someone you love goes through this downward spiral I think you should research your topic completely before judging others. There are many reasons for addiction and some are medical, so lets hope for everybody who may call you friend or family don't "freely" start or get addicted because if they do then you will be absolutely no help to them when they will need you the most. Not all addicts do this because they want to.

    • wow
      March 29, 2014 - 18:47

      Well I am so glad that you and everyone that you hold dear to yourself are perfect and don't need help with any addiction. I pay taxes as well and would rather see my money going to a GOOD program that WORKS for addictions then I would see it go to help government officials get even more for nothing. Until YOU or someone you love goes through this downward spiral I think you should research your topic completely before judging others. There are many reasons for addiction and some are medical, so lets hope for everybody who may call you friend or family don't "freely" start or get addicted because if they do then you will be absolutely no help to them when they will need you the most. Not all addicts do this because they want to.

  • Just Wondering
    March 25, 2014 - 02:46

    Has anyone ever wondered if the system in place to help these people is not the actual problem? If there were no addicts, then those departments would not have any reason to be open. Same situation with Social Services. I know it won't be a popular comment, but if more people would take responsibility for their own actions, there would be a lot let issues in the healthcare, social services and crime areas. Too many people would rather blame others for their own failures.

    • Honestly
      March 25, 2014 - 10:26

      As nice as it would be to live in a society that doesn't need treatment centers or social services, it is incredibly unrealistic to expect that these problems will just disappear if people would only 'take responsibility' for their actions. Addiction is a slippery slope, where most people don't recognize the problem until it is far too late. You have to understand that not everyone has the mental capacity to understand they have a problem, as drugs completely take over that center of reasoning. Our best solution is finding a way to treat and help these people get over their struggles, and rehabilitate them into becoming functioning and contributing members of society. You can't sit everyone down and lecture to them to take responsibility, and expect it to work.

  • w kennedy
    March 25, 2014 - 01:22

    Percocets, Dilaudid, Oxycontin How is it so common to prescribe now? I was given a prescription for a painkiller [in another province] after I told them I thought they were useless and you could hurt yourself while numb and didn't believe in them. Didn't find out until a co worker pointed it out.

  • Jessica
    March 24, 2014 - 21:52

    This is so so true ,I had to leave pei to get the help I so desperately needed and now I can't get back I'm native to pei this is so so sad do to the health care for addicts It's time we are HEARD once and for ALL! wish I could be there to protest...

    • in doubt
      March 25, 2014 - 18:28

      i think she is not blaming anyone or anything, i belive she is trying to say, the help should be there for someone that is trying to help better there life, and not have to leave the province! Happy for you JESS! ;)

  • Fay Senger Ross
    March 24, 2014 - 20:53

    I will be there

  • S
    March 24, 2014 - 20:19

    I will be there !

  • Anya
    March 24, 2014 - 18:31

    We so need to do this!!!cant be more agree!!

  • Anya
    March 24, 2014 - 18:29

    I will come and stand next to her.

  • add
    March 24, 2014 - 18:03

    Finally somebody is coming forward with this huge problem! 80% of people need help on this Island and the dr's write a prescripion for what ur addicted to or say go to the center and stay there for a week. Like that will help somebody. All I can say is that I will be standing there in april to support what she is trying to do!!

  • Something has to be done
    March 24, 2014 - 16:24

    WE have aterrible addiction issue here on our island....the parks, parking lots ,and side streets have used needles thrown from vehicles after they shoot up,80 %of our crime is drug based,it affects insurance rates ,our sense of security and our quality of life.....and remember the so called soft drug MARIHUANA is included here.....BC Bud is extremely powerfull.....and cannabis has been found to cause mental issues...over long twrm use ..and we wantb to legalize it........and don't forget good old booze.....OUR BIGGEST PROBLEM!!

  • Lenny
    March 24, 2014 - 14:59

    We need to bring back the old ways of dealigpng with addictions. Using plant medicines. The inigiounous ppl still use these medicines in Peru and other countries. We need to cure the cause not put a bandaid on it

  • candrayo
    March 24, 2014 - 12:57

    I couldn't agree more…time to start standing up to what is happening to our Island. I will be there standing with you Dianne….I am recovering from mental illness and know the lack of support out there for US!!! Thank you for inspiring me to do what I have been pondering doing!!! I will hope and dream that many more Islanders help take a stand with us!