(PHOTO: Sean O’Leary with his son, Ronan, inside the family store MYHome Furniture in Kanata. O’Leary says he is trying to give his children as normal a life as possible as his daughter struggles with drug addiction. Photo by Devyn Barrie/OttawaStart.com.)
UPDATE: O’Leary has launched a web site to connect parents of teens with drug addictions: www.wetheparents.ca
From our sister site, OttawaStart.com:
“My first thought every morning is to check that Paige is alive,” writes Kanata dad Sean O’Leary in a letter that’s been circulating in recent days on Facebook and through e-mail.
“I want people to start talking,” he said. “We’re just the tip of the iceberg.”O’Leary, whose daughter Paige is addicted to drugs, told OttawaStart.com he sent the letter to a group of parents in similar situations after Kanata teen Chloe Kotval, 14, died of a drug overdose on Valentine’s Day.
He set up a meeting for next Thursday to meet with other parents and to discuss their problem. He’s not sure what will happen, but he thinks a dialogue will help find solutions.
“There’s power in knowledge,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll find a solution.”
He said there is little support for families like him. He recounted one close call when Paige was rushed to hospital.
The addiction beds were full and O’Leary said a paramedic could not look him in the eye when he told him that they couldn’t help his daughter. Paige was discharged.
At one point, they sent Paige to the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre in Stittsville, which he said only has a few beds for drug treatment. Paige was clean for about five days before she relapsed.
The letter he wrote is frank, detailing his daughter’s drug problem and the near-death experience of another teen in O’Leary’s own garage. He said he is trying to lead as normal a life as possible, but felt the need to speak out.
“Somebody had to be brave this week (after Kotval’s death)… I couldn’t even press send, I had my wife come to my computer and press send.”
The response has been enormous and he said he has been inundated with responses from other parents.