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

Blooms abound at BC/Yukon Peony Show

The show was held last weekend in Castlegar, home to the 2019 National Peony Show.

RCMP identify Beasley body, foul play suspected

The remains of Lemar Halimi were discovered in May

SLIDESHOW: Castlegar grad celebrations

Stanley Humphries Secondary School said congratulations to the Class of 2018.

Unregulated private land logging continues near Nelson at Cottonwood Lake

Sunshine Logging of Kaslo is cutting on private land in the area of Giveout Creek Road

LETTERS: Castlegar Complex expansion

One in favour, one against expansion plans.

SLIDESHOW: Castlegar grad celebrations

Stanley Humphries Secondary School said congratulations to the Class of 2018.

Port of Prince Rupert names Shaun Stevenson as new CEO

Stevenson has worked for the port for 21 years as vice president of trade development

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of B.C. couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Five B.C. families stuck in Japan as Canada refuses visas for adopted babies

Lawyer points to change in American policy around adoptions from Japan

Most Read