​Cyclist rolls through Manitoba on cross-Canada tour to raise awareness about opioid drug use

Roughly at the midway point of his coast-to-coast tour to raise awareness for prescription opioid drug use, Chris Cull rests on the frame of his custom-made Trek road bike just west of the Perimeter on Highway 1.

Former drug addict Chris Cull at halfway mark in coast-to-coast awareness campaign

Cyclist rolls through Manitoba to raise awareness for opioid drug use

7 years ago
Duration 1:40
Former drug addict Chris Cull at halfway mark of coast-to-coast awareness campaign.

Chris Cull has come a long way in the last few years. He's halfway through his second cross-Canada bike trek in three years, but that may not be his biggest accomplishment. 

Cull went from blowing hundreds of thousands of dollars on prescription pills to being an advocate, dedicated to raising awareness about drug addiction. 

He's rolling out his message on two wheels over the summer months. He started out from the Vancouver Public Library on May 11.

"I understand the gravity of what everyday [is like], and how much pain the families and friends go through," said Cull.
Chris Cull rests on the frame of his custom-made road bike just west of the Perimeter on the Trans-Canada Hwy. He is crossing the country to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse. (CBC)

By the time he was 18, Cull was taking care of his father who was battling Huntington's disease and fighting an addiction to alcohol. Four years later, his father killed himself.

Cull was left to sort out his own life and admits he wasn't ready for it. He turned to Percocet, a prescription narcotic painkiller, to cope with his father's death in 2007 and quickly went downhill. 

"I started using Percocet to try and calm myself down. So I wasn't crying all the time," said Cull.

His addiction kept spinning out of control, and when the Percocets were no longer cutting it, he moved onto Oxycontin— lots of it — almost every day for two years.

He ended up losing the house his father willed to him and blew through his inheritance money, all to feed his need for opioids. 

"I spent six figures on drugs, lost a girlfriend of three-and-a-half years. I lost anything that meant anything to me," said Cull.

Cull's main goal now is to reduce the stigma around prescription drug dependency and he encourages anyone who needs help to seek the support they need to start their journey to recovery.

Cull hopes that as people speed by him on the Trans-Canada, they'll take note of the website that is dedicated to educating people about the disorder. 

Cull completed his first tour across Canada in 2014. He's scheduled to arrive in Halifax in mid-August. 

Former opioid addict and anti-addiction adovcate Chris Cull, biking east on the Trans- Canada. Cull will leave Winnipeg for Thunder Bay on Saturday. (CBC)