Chris Cull, left, of Bowmanville, Ont., is just ending a cross-Canada cycling and video documentary tour surveying the extent of prescription drug addiction in the country. He spoke in Stratford recently, welcomed by, from left, Cheryl Roche, co-founder of the Reach Centre, Rose Barbour and Ronalda Power of the 3C's Family Suppoert Group, and Janice Coady, co-founder of the Reach Centre.
©Guardian photo by Nigel Armstrong
Chris Cull decided to back track a little on his cross-Canada tour looking at prescription drug abuse to get a fuller response from P.E.I.
He is a recovering Percocet and OxyContin addict himself and this past weekend in Newfoundland completed a bicycling and documentary film journey across Canada.
He left Victoria, B.C. by bike in May, with two videographers, plus a determination to stay sober and enjoy his newfound focus and enjoyment of life.
He did make a quick stop on P.E.I. but it went unnoticed for the most part.
A group called Three C's Family Support group came to know of his project and invited him to stop back on P.E.I. during his return home.
Cull told a gathering at the Reach Centre in Stratford this week that he managed to put his life back together slowly, with the help of a methadone program and support of people who didn't give up on him.
The Reach Centre is a not-for-profit private foundation that has created a post-treatment facility for youths overcoming addictions.
Cull told the group of adult supporters and politicians assembled there, that he wasted thousands of dollars and lived in deep poverty, manipulating family and friends to feed his addiction. HIs addiction began when his father tried and eventually succeeded in taking his own life.
Cull said that after trying to get back on track many times, something finally clicked and he worked slowly up to a drug-free and Methadone-free life earlier this year.
That is one of his key messages.
"It doesn't matter how hard your situation is, it doesn't matter what you are going through, you can turn that around and turn your life into something great," said Cull.
"There is always something to be learned from every negative experience.
"My driving lesson is, don't ever give up hope on people you love and the people who may seem down and out. There is a point were it's going to turn around. When that point will be, everybody is different.
"The second you give up hope on somebody, that is the second they give up home on themselves."
Everywhere he stopped on his trip across Canada, people told him prescription drug abuse was "big around here."
"I met so many families over the years that were experiencing the same issues," said Cull. "That is a lot of people that need help."
He is returning to his home in Oshawa to edit the film about the experiences of families dealing with drug addiction and eventually enter it into film festivals. Cull hopes to make it a 90-minute film to include addicts, family members, recovering addicts, doctors, nurses and lawyers.