Twenty-one-year-old old Cole Lockie was a prolific artist. His mother Monica holds up some of his work with pride.
Cole’s paintings are full of bold colours and flowing lines. His mother said he used art to express his feelings.
Lockie said they knew Cole was struggling with drugs, but the nightmare call came out of the blue.
“The place where Cole was staying had found him dead in the bathroom and my husband is a firefighter and his crew actually went and discovered that it was Cole,” she said.
“So I got the call. I had to go see him, so my husband came and got me and he took me up to see him because I needed to know it was my son.”
The coroner later told them Cole had overdosed on fentanyl.
“We were totally shocked because we’d never heard of the drug before,” she said.
Cole died in February 2013, Global News spoke to Lockie shortly after his death.
She was telling his story in hopes more would be done to prevent similar deaths.
At the time, Global News also spoke with Deb Matthews, who was then-health minister.
“It’s a very very serious problem, so I think there are some very important questions that we are wrestling with right now, said Matthews, in March 2013.
Three years later, the question is, has much changed?
“In my opinion, no,” said Lockie. “People are still come up to me and say, ‘Fentanyl, I had to look it up, I don’t even know what it is.'”
She said education and regulation are the responsibility of both the drug manufacturers and the government.
“Drug use is an icky subject for most people, and especially for officials in high places,” she said.
“Nobody really wants to touch it. It’s shocking to me how dangerous it is and how little there is to help regulate it.”
Lockie said enough lives have been taken by fentanyl.
She add that Cole died, just as he was leaving the worst of his emotional battles in the past.
Even his art had become brighter and lighter in the weeks before his death.
“He knew that he wanted to find a better life and he was really trying.”