Manitoba

'She did die': Winnipeg woman says daughter revived after carfentanil overdose

Roxanne Shuttleworth’s prayers were answered when her daughter survived an overdose last week. She called it an unintentional overdose because her daughter didn’t know she was taking the deadly drug, carfentanil.

Roxanne Shuttleworth posted daughter's brush with death on social media to encourage more dialogue

Roxanne Shuttleworth's prayers were answered when her daughter survived an overdose last week. She called it an unintentional overdose because her daughter didn't know she was taking the deadly drug, carfentanil. 1:58

Roxanne Shuttleworth's prayers were answered when her daughter survived an overdose last week. She called it an unintentional overdose because her daughter didn't know she was taking the deadly drug, carfentanil.

Shuttleworth's daughter was admitted to hospital last Monday night. But Shuttleworth didn't find out until Tuesday, when her daughter called from the hospital.

Her daughter told her she and a friend did a drug together. They didn't know what it was. He tried it first, by tasting it on the end of his pinky finger. Then, she did the same.
Roxanne Shuttleworth wants to hear more people talk about addictions to bring about healing, after her daughter survived an overdose of carfentanil. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

"She said he — all of a sudden — was leaning on her. And she kind of jokingly pushed him over and said, 'What are you doing?' And he fell back against her and then she looked down and realized he was struggling to breathe and within moments, he was turning blue," Shuttleworth recounted.

Her daughter then called 911. When help arrived to take her friend away, she collapsed too. Shuttleworth says they were both rushed to hospital.

"They were both taken in. She did die. She was revived. I believe he did as well. But she was unconscious until she got in touch with me," Shuttleworth said.

Carfentanil is 100 times stronger than the highly addictive fentanyl. Originally designed to immobilize large animals such as moose and elephants, a small dose of just 20 micrograms could be fatal to humans, Winnipeg Police have said.

Shuttleworth's daughter was treated with the antidote naloxone. For two days, she received it every two hours.

"Then they started extending the time that she was on it. Then when she was able to go 24 hours without it, they released her. That was Friday," Shuttleworth said.

Roxanne Shuttleworth's prayers were answered when her daughter survived an overdose last week. She called it an unintentional overdose because her daughter didn't know she was taking the deadly drug, carfentanil. 2:15

Her daughter is now out of Winnipeg, recovering. Her daughter's close friend, though, didn't make it. He died in hospital.

"I'm extremely fortunate, as is she. Right now, she's grieving. But she does, in some part of her, realize how fortunate she is. But she's grieving, she's dealing with withdrawal, she's dealing with things as an addict, a recovering addict," Shuttleworth said.

'Don't hide it. Don't be ashamed'

Dealing with her daughter's addiction isn't new. She shared the experience on Facebook. Making it public allowed for people to pray for her daughter's recovery. She says as a traditional, Anishinabe woman, that was important to her. But she also wanted people to talk about it, openly.

"That's what I would tell other parents, seek out help, seek out support groups, talk to other people. Don't hide it, don't be ashamed, don't be fearful. We can't deal with something hidden. It's got to come out to deal with it. We can't deal with something put away, hidden in a dark corner,"

As for her daughter's recovery, she's hopeful but also cautious.

"She's got far more strength than I can even imagine. But at the same time, I need to find ways to help her without enabling [her] and point her in the right direction where she can get help. And then hope she makes that decision."