On Dec 10th 2012 we got that dreaded knock on the door, the one that’s very parents worst nightmare. RCMP is at our door to let us know our son has passed away. Found dead on his 42-year-old aunts couch. They proceed to tell us his aunt informed them that they were doing cocaine the night before. Around 1 in the afternoon is when she got up and found him dead. She calls 911 but never called us??
The paramedics show up and try to work on him but he was not responding so they took him to Dartmouth General. At no time did the police show up. The RCMP show up at the hospital. When we get there and I find out Ryan was at his aunts. I freaked out because I know she is a drug addict and has been for years. I tell them to go interview her because I know she is/was into dealing drugs. The RCMP asks me for her phone number which I don’t have because I don’t talk to her. I say call her parents.
We leave the hospital and go home and begin the awful task of planning a funeral. A week or two go by and I hear nothing back from the police. I call and the officer tells me a bit about what Ryan’s aunt said in her statement. She says Ryan was using drugs. She also said he was drinking that night. We know he had a couple of beers earlier in the night with his girlfriend but that was it. His aunt told police he was drinking heavily, which he was not according to toxicology report. She also showed the police all her prescription drugs she had. And according to police she had a lot of them. The one thing though that she didn’t show them was her prescription for dilaudid.
We have friends that are nurses and EMT’s so we heard from them Ryan’s death was most likely caused by opiates mixed with cocaine. At the time I had never heard of “opiates”. I didn’t know what it was. Then everyone starts talking about dilaudid, and that is what he must have taken. I didn’t know what dilaudid was either. I sure wish I knew! I sure wish there was more awareness on the abuse of prescription drug use, especially amongst our youth.
I finally mustered up the strength to call Ryan’s aunt on Jan 1st to ask her what had happened leading up to Ryan’s death. At this point I had never spoken to her since Ryan’s passing. She proceeded to tell me they did lines of cocaine and watched tv. Around 6-630 am she said she gave him 1/2 pill of dilaudid before he went to sleep. They took half of one each. She also gave him a glass of orange juice because he was just getting over a terrible cold. He had to call in sick 3 days previous because of this cold. She asked him what time he wanted to get up and he said 11 am. She slept through her alarm and didn’t get up until 1 pm and found him dead.
I call the RCMP to tell him she admitted to giving Ryan dilaudid. I thought the officer should know so he could go and talk to her again. I thought it is illegal to share prescription drugs. He said no, that’s hear say so we had to wait for the toxicology report. I admit I was a bit frustrated and told him so but he assured me when report came they would then go and talk to his aunt.
Then about a week or two later she called my husband to cry and apologize, for what I’m not sure. But my husband told her that we believed she had contributed to Ryan’s death, that if she hadn’t given him dilaudid he wouldn’t have died. She said they had done it before so she didn’t think it was a big deal. My husband, asked her where she got the dilaudid and she told him it was her prescription. Again she admitted to sharing it with Ryan.
I call the police again to tell them she admitted to my husband that not only did she give it to him, it was her prescription. Again the police says there is nothing they can do until tox report comes back. At this point I get even more frustrated because she has also told other friends and family members she gave the dilaudid to Ryan. I just thought at least they should go back and talk to his aunt,doctor, anyone really ….. at least to take this drug from her because if she was sharing with Ryan, she was for sure sharing or selling to others. Again I’m told nothing can be done until report comes back.
2 months go by and I call the medical examiner to ask a question regarding Ryan. I am told that usually it takes 8-10 months for a toxicology report to come back but for some reason Ryan’s had just come in that day. They read the report and yes Ryan’s death was an accidental death caused by cocaine and dilaudid, and pretty high amounts. The amounts I’m not sure what it means but it was more than 1/2 a pill he took. Not that this was exciting to us but at least there it was on black and white that dilaudid was in his system. Just like I told the police.
When I spoke to the medical examiner I asked if Ryan had not taken dilaudid that day/night, would he have died and she said no. No he would not have died. I am not saying Ryan was innocent. He was 21 years old. He was an adult and yes he consented to taking this drug …. BUT if he knew that grave risk he was taking that night me might not have made that choice. I am positive he would not have died that night if she hadn’t shared her prescription for dilaudid with my son.
So I call the police again to share that report is in. He says he didn’t get it I give him the number to call. At this time I ask what happens next? What happens to Ryan’s aunt? Because now, here it is in black and white that all ive been telling him. She shared her prescription and that illegal right? He says yes he will bring her in for new statement. But first he needs to bring this to his supervisor because he is now in Sackville, no longer in Cole Harbour and now they need to assign a new constable from Cole Harbour to his case. He says it will be a couple of days but someone will look after it and get in touch. I tell him I worry that this will give Ryan’s aunt time to think up lies because I have made no secret that I blame her for Ryan’s death. He says not to worry because they are experienced and when they bring her in for a new statement they will catch her in her lies. Again he pacified me, like he’s done all along. Basically to keep me off his back.
I hear nothing back in a week so I call and leave a message as I’ve done in the past. Sometimes he returns my call sometimes he doesn’t. This time he didn’t so I had to call again 2 days later to be told i have to wait 4 days because now he’s on his off days. I get frustrated and call Cole Harbour detachment and ask to speak to a supervisor. I explain everything from Dec 10th up until now and he agrees with me that there should be more communication and more action he feels. He says to call the original constable back in 4 days and if at that time I’m not satisfied to talk to his supervisor. I call and leave message and he does not call back. I ask to speak to the supervisor and the supervisor proceeds to tell me that the constable had brought Ryan’s case to the crown and they decided not to press charges. I am like, what?? How does this even happen?
I ask if anyone even went and got another statement from Ryan’s aunt but no one did. He says he will have the officer call me back and explain. He calls and tells me the crown didn’t want to press charges because Ryan was a consenting adult and an experienced drug user. I asked who said he was an experienced drug user and he said Ryan’s aunt did and I did. I never said that. I said I knew Ryan had experimented. So at this point I’m mad and I proceed to tell him I m not happy with the way this case was treated from the get go. I told him I felt he didn’t care and didn’t do his job. I asked the officer 5 times if it was not illegal to share prescription drugs. I asked in those words, very clearly and all times his answer was “the crown chooses not to press charges”.
How can that be? What she did was illegal and no one is holding her accountable. How is this even possible that she get away with giving my son the drug that killed him?. This was Thursday night. I went to RCMP station friday afternoon to talk to someone, someone different that could tell me I’m not crazy, that someone should be held accountable. They said someone would be in touch with me and so far on a Wednesday night no one has gotten back to me.
How is it possible to allow her to continue to share her drugs? There is even a commercial on TV by the Halifax Regional Police that talks about how its illegal to share prescription drugs. If that’s the case then why is Ryan’s aunt still in possession of her prescription that she shares and why are police standing there letting it happen?
My husband and I know our son did drugs, probably even more than we knew including steroids. However we believe dilaudid is what killed him in the end. We don’t believe his aunt wanted our son dead. She loved him I’m sure. But someone has to be held accountable for giving my son dilaudid. I don’t expect her to go to jail. But rehab??? Someone taking her prescription away?? Should if nothing else someone of authority tell her what she did was wrong? What she did was illegal?
- Trine Lise Good , Ryans Mom