Red Deer’s Jim and Janine Kristinson’s worst nightmare came true when their 36-year-old son died of a fentanyl overdose in March.
Now they are going through the same crisis with their younger son.
“Adam died with his name on a waiting list for treatment,” said Jim.
Their son Adam Looby, a furniture mover and roofer, was addicted to fentanyl for nearly 17 years.
Looby was clean for nearly four years after receiving treatment.
But her son got involved with the wrong crowd, Janine said, and he eventually overdosed and died leaving behind a two-year-old son.
The couple took part in the International Overdose Awareness Day event hosted by Turning Point at City Hall Park on Thursday.
Their younger son Joel, who is also having issues with drug addiction, was on a wait list for drug treatment in Calgary for four months.
“He almost died four times while he was waiting,” said Jim.
The couple say he is doing well these days.
“We have faith,” said Janine. “That’s what’s carried us through this.”
While they could not help their eldest son, the Kristinsons would like to see a three-step system with emergency care, detox and drug addiction rehab to help other users in Red Deer.
Turning Point registered nurse Stephanie Pettigrew said there are underlying causes that lead to addiction. She explained that drug users need to be loved and cared for like everyone else and need a place to belong.
“It is a human right to receive highest level of health care and this applies to people who use drugs,” said Pettigrew.
Janine said her son died with just a bag on his back because he sold all his belongings to feed his addiction.
“But he died with a legacy to help others, and we are carrying that on,” she said.