man injecting drugs in tattooed arm

LETTER – After witnessing drug activity in Lewis Park, Courtenay resident says more needs to be done

Dear parents,

Please, do not rest assured for even one second that your discussions with your kids about the dangers of drug use and addiction, the devastation drugs have on families, the waste of his or her future and life, are enough.

Absolutely you are doing your job as a parent with these discussions and deserve credit. But your tween or teen can so easily be groomed, swayed, coerced, embarrassed, challenged to “just try it, you’ll like it, join in,” in so many ways. So please be on red alert for your kids, every day.

Why do I feel so strongly about this? Because last week I witnessed a young man destroying himself and his life, and it’s shaken me.

It was last Thursday, 1:30 in the afternoon. I was on a treadmill at the Lewis Centre gym, looking out over the baseball fields, tennis courts, lazy river, trees, all soaking up the sun. Just below me in one of the baseball dugouts, I notice a thin young man with a dark, curly head of hair, wearing baggy jeans and a dark jacket; he doesn’t look even 18 years old. He’s pacing in small circles, agitated, angrily talking to himself, shaking over and over something in his hand. He’s so close I can see that it’s a syringe. And he’s so focused on this, and so out of it, he has no idea he has an audience.

Stunned, I watch as he sits on the bench, pulls up the left sleeve of his jacket and tries to inject himself. He keeps jabbing his skin in different spots. But doesn’t seem to manage it and jumps up, annoyed, and continues shaking the syringe. He sits again, pulls up the sleeve on his right arm and does the same thing. No success. Then he pulls up the left leg of his jeans and tries to find an injection spot on his calf.

I can’t stand watching him any longer and get off the treadmill to find a staff member. I tell her we need to call a street worker or someone that can come and check on this boy and help him. She looks out the window for a minute, agrees, and leaves to make a call. I can’t watch this boy continue his injection attempts, and go over to another part of the gym without windows. Later the assistant tells me they called the police and an officer came, then an ambulance, and the boy was taken to the hospital. He is someone’s son, grandson, maybe a brother or nephew. I can’t get him out of my mind for days.

It’s one week later, this morning. I’m again at the gym. The same assistant tells me that about an hour after the ambulance left with the boy last week, a group of five boys arrived to the same spot. Among them was an older boy/man, the dealer? He appeared to be slipping these kids drugs, encouraging them to join in the group, use, making it seem like a party. This is happening on an afternoon in a public park in full view. She immediately called the police again who returned to the field, and she said it looked like the boys, or the older guy, were given tickets. Tickets? I’m speechless.

This afternoon to be more informed, I look up some studies and reports on substance use and abuse by our youth in this country, and the “Whys.” It saddens and shocks me to realize that what I witnessed from the gym window last week is only a glimpse into what is now happening in our community and society. It seems that awareness and prevention, to be effective, has to start really early with our kids. Parents have to be so vigilant. I can’t image the worry.

Faye Campbell,

Courtenay

Letter to the Editor

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map shows new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 11-17. (BCCDC image)
BCCDC says fresh COVID-19 cases down in most Island Health areas

Nanaimo sees its fewest new COVID-19 cases since mid January

Col. Bryn Elliott is the new wing commander of 19 Wing Comox. Photo submitted
New wing commander at 19 Wing Comox

The ceremony was presided over virtually by the commander of 1 Canadian Air Division.

The new childcare centre on Denman Island opened in April. Photo, Comox Valley Schools
New Denman Island childcare facility opens

The facility offers 20 new licensed care spaces

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Monday, April 19, 2021. Younger Canadians in several provinces are now able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
AstraZeneca vaccine appointments fill up fast on Vancouver Island

More pharmacies expected to be added as supply increases

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Euthanasia not the only outcome for Fanny Bay cougar

Conservations officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time up-keeping the yard? You may be unintentionally contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
Murder trial: Victim left to conclude out-of-court settlement on the day he disappeared

Trial of Richard Alexander in death of John Dillon Brown continues in B.C. Supreme Court in Victoria

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Most Read