Nfld. & Labrador

Young man's story of addiction a personal moment on Liberal campaign trail

"There's not a family in this province that hasn't been impacted by either substance abuse or addictions of some sort," Dwight Ball said.

Dwight Ball promises more to campaign platform other than Budget 2019

Dr. Todd Young speaks with Liberal Leader Dwight Ball and Baie Verte-Springdale candidate Brian Warr at the Main Street Medical Clinic. (Ariana Kelland/CBC)

The Liberal bus rolled into Springdale Tuesday with the usual coffee stops and handshakes, but it was a visit to a local clinic that struck a chord with Dwight Ball.

Using telemedicine, Dr. Todd Young connected with a young man in Spaniard's Bay who is attempting to overcome addiction with Suboxone, a medication used to treat opioid addiction by reducing withdrawal symptoms.

"I'd like a lot of people to get off this stuff because I'm after losing so many friends, between mental health, suicide and overdose. It's hard, right," said Kyle, with his face on the doctor's computer screen.

Ball and Baie Verte-Springdale incumbent Brian Warr quietly listened behind Young's office chair.

"Nobody actually knows how hard addiction is, and nobody has it figured out yet," Kyle said.

Dr. Todd Young introduces Liberal Leader Dwight Ball and candidate Brian Warr to a patient whom he has been seeing using telemedicine. (Ariana Kelland/CBC)

Before stepping out, Ball turned to the screen and offered encouraging words.

"Good luck, Kyle," said Ball. "There is a great life after this. You'll be fine."

In need of nurse practitioner, doctor says

In a political campaign marked that day by smiles, hugs and friendly chit-chat, the discussion with Kyle provided a personal connection for Ball, though he was kilometres away.

"I know the importance and I know the impact it's having on people's lives," Ball said later Tuesday.

"I think most people know my own personal story, I'm not shy talking about that."

Ball's daughter has struggled with addiction, something the premier spoke openly about in past years.

"There's not a family in this province that hasn't been impacted by either substance abuse or addictions of some sort."

For Young, who has 600 patients, the visit was an opportunity to show politicians what he does — and what he needs.

Liberal policy announcements to come

In order to help more patients, Young said his practice needs a nurse practitioner.

Currently, the health authorities dictate where nurse practitioners are located.

'There is a great life after this. You'll be fine,' Dwight Ball said to Dr. Todd Young's patient via Skype. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Young wants Newfoundland and Labrador to provide funding directly to the clinic.

Ball said he is open to seeing that happen.

Meanwhile, Ball said to expect more to the Liberals campaign platform, with more details being released Monday.

So far, the message has focused on the 2019 budget, which has not yet passed due to the election call.

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About the Author

Ariana Kelland is a reporter with the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador bureau in St. John's.

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