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'We tried everything': Families of overdose victims speak with Province to combat drug crisis

Last Updated Aug 31, 2019 at 12:00 pm MDT

Leslie Kime lost her son to an overdose. She shared her thoughts with Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addiction Jason Luan at a round table on August 30, 2019. Source: Saif Kaisar/660 NEWS

Aug. 31 is Overdose Awareness Day

CALGARY (660 NEWS) —¬†Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, held a roundtable discussion with several parents and youth affected by drugs and overdoses in Calgary on Friday.

“Our government is committed to ensuring anyone who is ready can get recovery support when and where it makes sense for them,” said Luan.

“We’re committed to improving our addictions and health services from treatment options to prevention efforts, to supporting people in recovery and their families,” he added.

Saturday is Overdose Awareness Day. The global event, which takes place on Aug. 31 each year, aims to raise awareness about overdose victims and help reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths.

It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends of those who died.

“A lot of people think addiction is a choice. It is not a choice,” said Leslie Kime, she lost her 22-year-old son to a drug overdose three and a half years ago.

“It is a gut-filled drive to get rid of the pain they’re dealing with, and it’s like breathing, you can’t just stop breathing.”

She said that her son had ADHD and was placed on medication, which developed into a drug addiction problem.

He was placed into the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre and he recovered from his addiction for several years before he relapsed.

“As a parent it was incredibly painful to watch him fail, to watch him die,” she said. “We tried everything… we tried so many things.”

READ MORE: UCP announces members of safe consumption site review committee

Earlier this month the government appointed a panel to examine the social and economic impacts of supervised consumption sites.

When asked if the province is any closer to making a decision on the sites, Luan said: “We’re looking forward to gathering reports before the year ends, and that information along with other [information] will be [compiled] and forwarded to cabinet for a decision.”

He added that we can expect a decision by year-end or next year.