In Saskatchewan, relatives of a family who died of a suspected overdose have condemned a lack of support for drug-addicted parents. Ann Doig believes such support could have helped her son John Cowan, her daughter-in-law Berkley Donkervoort and her granddaughter Maddison Cowan.
Anne Doig says the parents and their daughter died within six months, and from the moment her granddaughter was born, she worried about the difficulties the child would face, given her parents’ dependency.
It’s a scary thing to think about, but without significant intervention for so long, this little girl’s hope for a normal life was in jeopardy.laments Anne Doig, a retired family doctor.
He studied piping with his son in Alberta, but a head injury in a car accident prevented him from pursuing his profession.
For her part, Berkley Donkervoort’s mother, Susan Donkervoort, explains that her daughter is a dental hygienist. He believes he used fentanyl for eight years before his death.
Anne Doig holds the funeral cards of her granddaughter, her son and her partner who died of a suspected drug overdose in the first six months of 2023.
Photo: Radio-Canada / Sam Samson
Ann Doig said Saskatchewan Coroners Service documents show her granddaughter had fentanyl, carfentanil and benzodiazepines in her stomach when she died.
John Cowan died shortly after. Ann Doig said her son had taken quetiapine, a drug used to treat psychotic disorders or as a sedative for people with drug addiction, in addition to “street drugs”.
A few months after John Cowan’s death, Berkeley died of Donkervoort drinking
Fentanyl and benzodiazepinesAs his mother Susan Donkervoort explains.
The couple started dating in 2015. Berkley Donkervoort became pregnant on Christmas 2020.
Photo: Courtesy of Susan Donkervoort
Anne Doig says her family’s tragic fate could have been avoided in other cases. However, he believes Saskatchewan’s current child protection system cannot handle this type of situation.
You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped, but I think the rules change when it involves a child.
He hopes a reliable, controlled source of drugs for addicts will prevent them from consuming what he calls “filthy garbage.”
In an email sent to CBC/Radio-Canada Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Health says the focus is on treatment and recovery to overcome drug addiction.
The Saskatchewan government has no plans to dispense illegal drugs through the public health systemA spokesperson for the ministry writes.
According to different situations
According to addiction expert Peter Selby of the University of Toronto and Center for Addiction and Psychiatry, every family and every situation is different.
Just because someone has a drug addiction doesn’t mean they have to lose their child’s safety forever, but they should call on others to make sure the child grows up safe.Expert explains.
The latter believes that government agencies should intervene when parents are unable to care for their children.
Addiction is reversible, and people can get better. I have seen such incidents many timesHe says.
I feel that if we don’t invest now, we will lose a generation.
According to him, when children are taken from drug-using mothers, it reinforces prejudices.
bad mother .
Instead, Peter Selby says authorities need to rethink how they provide support to pregnant women who need help with drug addiction.
With information from Sam Samson
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