It has been 656 days since I lost my little brother Joshua to an accidental overdose to hydromorphone and alcohol and it does not hurt any less. In fact, in reality it hurts more. The rage and the anger has faded only making it more clear how much it hurts to not have him in my life anymore. As time passes, life changing , joyful events get added to the list of things Joshua missed out on. I look into my son Cohen’s eyes on a daily basis and wish his uncle could see his cute little face and how much he has grown. Cohen still does not understand where his uncle is but he does know that Joshua loved him and will always be a part of our lives. Cohen’s first Christmas we bought Josh an ornament that said “To Uncle Josh , Love Cohen”. Josh had it hanging from the rearview mirror of his car so he could see it everyday. It hung in that spot until his death. I still have that ornament and every year me and Cohen go pick out a new one for Josh to hang on our tree. This year Cohen picked out a pink Care Bear ornament. He said that he knew Josh would love it because the Care Bear had a rainbow on its belly and it matched the rainbow on Cohen’s blanket. It’s those kind of moments that make my heart ache. Those moments remind me how much Josh is missing out on.
Next week is Kyle Fredericks trial in connection to my brother’s death. He is being charged with criminal negligence causing death and trafficking hydromorphone. I wish there was a charge for criminal negligence causing a families heart to be torn to pieces because that describes it better. I have little hope this will give me or my family any closure. The justice system is soft and even if convicted, prison will probably only teach him to be a better drug dealer. You cannot force someone to feel remorse. Josh made a horrible choice to take a prescription drug that was not prescribed. I can only hope that the alleged dealer sees what a horrible choice he made to sell narcotics to make an easy buck. These two poor choices have turned so many lives upside down. One night of seemingly innocent partying has shattered many hearts and broken many dreams.
I’m done being angry , but I will never be done grieving . I don’t want revenge , I want change. I want people to stop and think about how we got to this point. I want people to be educated on the risks of abusing prescription drugs and I want traffickers to be educated on the consequences of selling them. I want doctors to be more accountable for their prescribing practices and big pharma to stop putting profits before the well-being of patients. I want police to take prescription drug abuse as serious as they do other drugs. I want the government to have available treatment to addicts who have been created by their medical system. I want the Prescription Monitoring Program and College of Physicians and Surgeons to get their heads out of the sand , stop protecting their own butts, and start protecting the publics!
Joshua was one of 269 deaths in Nova Scotia over five years due to opioid overdose. Someone in Nova Scotia will die on a weekly basis from these “legal” drugs. I know what the other 268 families are feeling and I would never wish this upon my worst enemy. I hope this year brings more education , awareness , accountability , and fewer deaths. These are tragedies that can be prevented , so what are we waiting for?