Out in the Open

A father fears for his drug-using daughter's life every day

Sean O’Leary’s 17-year-old daughter abuses drugs, including fentanyl.
Sean O'Leary (Courtesy of Sean O'Leary)

'We were aware that she had an addiction with drugs. Was I aware that it was fentanyl at the time? No," says Sean O'Leary.

Sean's 17-year-old daughter, Paige, has been addicted to drugs for about three years now, including taking fentanyl.  

Sean and his family are from the Ottawa suburb of Kanata, where several teens have died of fentanyl. Sean wrote a moving post that he put up on Facebook about how this is an issue in his community. Some high schools in the area are stocking up on naloxone kits this fall.

"Paige personally knows three people that have died. How many of them have overdosed? There's a lot. Dozens," including one of Paige's friends who overdosed in Sean's garage.

"[E]very morning, you're checking to see if your kid is alive. Life is not fun when as a father you can't tell your kid's sister to wake her up, or her brother, you don't want your wife. You gotta do it yourself."

Sean O'Leary says he broke the law by locking his drug-addicted daughter in their house, but he says he had no other choice. 0:32

Sean has tried several measures to help his daughter, including locking her in their home so she can't buy drugs.

Sean says he wants us to treat drug addiction as a chronic illness, not something that goes away after a few months of treatment.

He's started a group for parents of addicted youth, We the Parents, to help figure out how to move forward and raise awareness on this issue.