Lakefield family shares story of losing 21-year-old son to fentanyl overdose
On June 9, 2017, 21-year-old Keagen Carson from Lakefield was found dead in his bed as a result of a fentanyl overdose.
“I just pushed my way through the police and everything and I said ‘I just want to see my son, I just want to see my son.’ So they let me in the room and that’s where he was … sleeping,” said Keagen’s mother, Wendy Carson.
His family said that Keagen was a shining light when he was growing up.
“Growing up, he loved sports, he was always joking around. He had all kinds of energy he loved camping he was just a great kid,” said Keagen’s grandfather, Jim Carson.
At the age 13, Keagen started smoking pot. His life took a sharp turn when he started injecting hydrophone, heroin, and eventually fentanyl.
“I had been at his house before when he went into the bathroom for a good half an hour and came out really stoned, and he would say, ‘mom please I don’t mean to be doing this. Mom, I need help,'” Wendy said.
Month’s before his death, Keagen decided to quit drugs. He was clean for 72 days, but he suddenly relapsed and injected fentanyl, which his body could no longer handle.
“He said, ‘I knew I was going to use this morning mom I just can’t take it,'” said Wendy.
His family said they tried everything to help Keagen, including addiction counselling, but his grandfather admits, unless you’re an addict yourself, no one can truly understand the pain addicts endure.
“I know he had one councillor in the short time he was in Portage who he really, really looked up to who he really liked and that fellow had been through heroin addiction. Unfortunately, his stay there wasn’t long enough,” said Jim.
In 2012, Keagen lasted just three weeks at Portage, an addiction centre in Guelph, because he was told he was too depressed and his addiction was too strong.
While his mother claims he was co-operating, Portage told Chex News that they can’t provide specifics but said in some instances, clients are referred to hospitals or other clinics if they have disruptive behaviour or simply refuse to participate.
His mother also praised the help Keagen received earlier this year at Peterborough’s Fourcast. However, she does question why he was placed on a 100-day wait list for a rehabilitation program.
Fourcast told Chex News that each individual is assessed based on their specific needs and some rehab programs require applying and have longer wait lists than others.
As part of Ontario’s plan to tackle opioid addiction and overdose, the Central East Lhin, the local health authority, is investing $1.6 million in an effort to improve access to addiction services and clinics.
In memory of Keagen, his best friend Jade Wallace started a Facebook page called ‘Keagen’s Movement,’ a group where people can share their struggles with addiction. It currently has more than 3,000 followers.
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.