WATCH: A grieving family in the Comox Valley is appealing for more drug treatment beds and a clean source of drugs for addicts in B.C. in the wake of their 26-year-old son’s overdose. Ryan Hedican went through recovery programs several times and failed before his death from fentanyl this past April and his parents say what they learned watching addiction take him, is that what’s in place now isn’t working. Skye Ryan has more.
Sorting through the photos of their son Ryan, John and Jennifer Hedican see the puzzle of the young man they loved taking shape. Their firstborn had everything going for him including a loving family, supportive friends and a career as an electrician. He had hopes.
"He wanted relationships," said Ryan's dad John Hedican. "He wanted a job."
Yet Ryan Hedican could never escape the one piece of his puzzle that his parents say took it all away: his drug addiction. The addiction ultimately claimed his life in April 2017. After repeatedly being in and out of recovery programs, he overdosed on fentanyl.
"Addiction has a power people don't understand," said John. "They think it's a choice."
"They think they want to use," said Ryan's mother, Jennifer
In the midst of the fentanyl crisis, Ryan Hedican became one of the 1,103 people who died in B.C. between January and September of 2017, nearly twice as many deaths as the same time one year earlier.
"The number of deaths that are occurring is criminal," said Jennifer.
Ryan's parents are urging officials to increase the number of treatment beds and provide a clean source for drugs for addicts. It's a controversial idea they say would have saved their son in his relapse.
"You're not a criminal. You're a regular person and part of the treatment is a clean source," said Jennifer
It's a concept the Hedican's say people should be talking about yet despite rising deaths isn't in officials plans.
"And they won't even say the words 'provide a clean source,'" said John.
The couple agrees that before Ryan's death, they'd have never thought that providing addicts with a clean source of drugs made sense, but now without him in their lives, they say they'd do anything to get him back.