Pubdate: Wed, 15 Jun 2005
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 The Province
Author: Jeremy Etherington


I read with trepidation and dismay a Sunday news brief about a drug addict
who had been found dead in Stanley Park.

This young man lived in a group home for people with psychiatric disorders.
He had been clean and sober for eight months, although he had battled with
drug addiction in the past. He was schizophrenic and often paranoid.

He loved his new group home until one of the other residents began using and
distributing cocaine at the house. This sparked almost unbearable cravings.
The young man reported this to the house supervisors, but the problem

The next weekend, he had a "slip," but started attending AA meetings three
times a week to deal with the problem.

On Sunday, May 5, he went out to wash storefront windows to earn enough
money to buy his brother a birthday present for Friday, June 10. He never

This "addict" was a sweet, compassionate man.

Yes, he was addicted -- to the Nature Channel, the Learning Channel and the
Knowledge Network. He learned practically everything there was to know about
birds, insects and exotic mammals.

Unfortunately, he was afflicted with paranoid schizophrenia. And sometimes
doing drugs was the only thing that seemed to allay his fears and make him
feel more like a normal human being.

He is deeply loved by his mother, father, step-parents, brother,
grandparents and friends.

To us he was, and always will be, much more than just another "addict dead
in park."

Jeremy Etherington,

West Vancouver
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