Scott Seibel was called a “gentle giant” — and his soulful expression has been memorialized in a larger-than-life mural in downtown Red Deer.
Friends and family knew Scott to be a hard worker, who was quiet, but witty, and passionate about music, pool and darts.
His family and friends did not know Scott to be a drug user.
Yet on July 19, this broad-shouldered, six-foot-five man was killed by an accidental drug overdose in Port Moody, B.C., where he had been working in home renovations since January.
His father, Don Seibel, learned the bare facts: Scott had gone out drinking and socializing with friends for the first time in months.
“After drinking, he met someone, and they went back to the condo and did some cocaine that had been laced with fentanyl. And it killed him.”
Don and his wife Carole were shattered to lose the youngest of their two sons at the age of 33. They couldn’t understand how this could have happened.
After driving out to B.C., they called the coroner.
“I asked her: ‘How could such a big boy be taken down by a couple of puffs’” of cocaine, recalled his mother.
The response she received was that Scott’s inexperience with drugs likely meant he had no tolerance to fentanyl, which has polluted many street drug supply chains in Western Canada.
Don and Carole now believe the only positive thing that can come from their son’s death is getting this message out to other young people who are curious about experimenting with recreational drugs.
“Fentanyl is working its way into all parts of Canada — and people need to know that,” said Don. “People have been using cocaine since the ’50s, the ’60s — but it’s not safe anymore.”
Scott’s friends were so devastated by his loss that they collaborated to create a memorial mural of his image in downtown Red Deer.
The Seibels are touched that artist Jesse Gouchey drove back to Red Deer from his home in B.C. to paint their son’s face on an exterior wall of a tattoo shop on Little Gaetz. It can be seen across the street from the Real Canadian Superstore.
The painting captures Scott’s blue eyes — as well as the look of determination that made the Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School graduate head to Fort McMurray to help residents rebuild their community after the wildfire destroyed many homes.
Another of Scott’s friends, Josh Landers, co-owns the tattoo shop and received his landlord’s permission to have the mural painted, since opioid use continues to be a big issue in Red Deer.
“Scott can’t speak for himself anymore,” said Don. “But if he could, he would say he was very, very sorry for what he’d done, because he’d never wanted to hurt his family, his friends — or himself.
“He would say, ‘I made a mistake. I should have never done this. And I want others to know, so they don’t take the same chance I did.’
“He would say, ‘It’s not worth it. Don’t do drugs.’”