B.C. mom calls on doctors to let parents help their addicted kids

Report that says parents are overlooked in treating substance abuse reflects mother’s experience

Izzy Bailey was only 21 years old when she fatally overdosed in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. (Rhonda Dent photo)

A B.C. woman whose daughter died of a drug overdose is calling on the province to better involve family in addiction treatment.

Deborah Bailey spent many frustrating years trying to get proper treatment for her adopted daughter, Izzy, before she died just before Christmas in 2015.

Izzy overdosed four times in the year before her death. Bailey was never told about those, however, because her daughter was legally an adult.

“She may have been 21, but maturity-wise, she was more like a 14-year-old,” the Vancouver woman said. “She was a little gal we adopted, so she had alcohol-related brain [issues].”

Both Izzy’s biological parents had struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, including when the mother was pregnant with Izzy, leading to the girl having problems with impulse control and understanding consequences.

When Izzy told doctors she wanted her family involved in her care, Bailey said the doctors didn’t listen.

“Often it’s cited as privacy and confidentiality between the doctor and the patient, but we are that child’s or that young adult’s greatest supporter and often have information that the doctors don’t have,” she said.

“I would take her to appointments, so I’d be sitting in the waiting room and often not be invited in.”

A BC Centre on Substance Use report released Wednesday found that doctors often pushed parents and relatives of addiction patients away.

“Although families of all descriptions are an extremely valuable resource in a person’s addiction care and recovery, they are too often overlooked in substance use service planning,” the report said.

There is no framework to get them involved in the care, the document read, and privacy laws can stop doctors from being proactive.

READ: Cracks loom large for parents of at-risk youth

It recommended building teams of healthcare professionals and case workers to liaise with families to get the best care for the patients.

Izzy was found dead in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside on Dec. 22, 2015, the result of a fentanyl overdose that Bailey thinks could have been prevented if she had been allowed to take home the medication Suboxone.

“At that time, Suboxone carries – being able to take it home with you – was much more difficult to get,” said Bailey.

“I told her doctor that ‘I’m just trying to keep my kid alive here’ and he just shrugged at us and would not allow the Suboxone carries.”

Bailey was occasionally able to get a prescription for Izzy to take home Suboxone, but she said Izzy’s addictions specialist would repeatedly take her off the medication without Bailey knowing the reason, forcing her daughter to go to the pharmacy to get her daily dose.

“She overdosed because she couldn’t get there,” Bailey said. “She was cooperative about being on Suboxone but she was also addicted.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

LETTER: There’s a man with a gun over there

Agassiz resident Harvey Andrews shares his thoughts on the latest shooting in Chilliwack

LETTER: Kudos to Kent

Agassiz resident Claude Bouchard shares his appreciation for Kent staff following the winter winds

Hope Search and Rescue worried about looming expiry date for government funding

The province’s 80 SAR groups have been sharing $15 million in grants from previous government

LETTER: Avoiding water bottle refill stations short-sighted

Chilliwack’s Ashala Palaniuk shares her thoughts on Harrison’s decision to say no to refill stations

Local recognized for devoting a half-century of fighting fires

Provincial, federal governements honour the 50 years Fred Robinson spent as volunteer firefighter

Harrison Hot Springs students bring ‘Twelfth Night’ to life

The adaption of Shakespeare’s classic comedy include songs and phrases from Canada’s east coast

Trudeau fills vacancy in cabinet with B.C. MP Joyce Murray

Murray, 64, was elected in 2008 and served previously as a minister in B.C.’s provincial government

Leivo nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Stars 3-2

Schaller scores first 2 goals of season for Vancouver

UBC study shows honey bees can help monitor pollution in cities

Scientists analyzed beehives in high density urban areas to those off on Galiano Island

B.C. man mourns the loss of classmate killed in New Zealand mosque attack

When he heard news of the attack, he sent a message to his friend

Ethiopia minister: ‘Clear similarities’ in Boeing crashes

Both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder were sent to Paris for analysis

Most Read