Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I've managed now to maintain a journal of one sort or another online now coming up on eight years. Initially I was so self conscious about exposing anything about myself, but after a short time, I forgot that I was actually writing on a public forum, and wrote just for the sake of writing - for an audience of one so to speak, moi! With my first journal I did nothing to hide my identity in anyway, but, I also ensured that I made no mention whatsoever of my alternate lifestyle, so to speak. While it was true that everything I wrote about was 100% honest, the mere fact I completely avoided addressing a substantial part of my life was nothing more than me lying through omission which by definition is equally as bad as if I were lying. I wasn't really being truthful or at all. Conundrum!

At the same time, I certainly was by no means ready to expose a very private side of myself or my husband, or at the very least, risk the chance that someone reading my journal would be able to put two and two together and figure out what we had fought and worked so hard to remain secret and separate. Ah-ha! A secret identity was in order. Why not? I thought. It works for super heroes now doesn't it? So with the anniversary of my alter ego in mind, I guess you could say that I've been maintaining a journal online, with my entire life 100% exposed, for near seven and a half years now. While I still chose to keep my real name and my families private and hidden from anyone doing a general search of me, anyone that knows me intimately is familiar with any of my online writings now, my daughters included. More than anything else now, my innate shyness and general self consciousness are the main things that stop me from going any further.

One thing I've not been able to help but notice is how much change has occurred in those writing about addiction. There seems to be far more relatives of addicts writing now than the actual addicts. When I first started out, I can't remember anyone other than addicts or addicts in recovery writing or keeping a personal journal. A point of view that I can't help but consider now, was never a consideration in the past. Nary a glimmer. Keeping current with the ever growing number of this niche keeps me honest, and never forgets to remind me that my recovery no longer affects only me, but any number of people close to me who care about me and my welfare - obviously, there are many other things working away in the background, but each and every time I read one of the relatives journals, I can't help but feel humbled. I also can't begin to say enough about any one of them and the suffering they must endure each and every day. Their writings should be mandatory reading for any drug education course in the school system, the penal system and any other type of system out there!

For anyone new to my writing, I first off, would like to welcome one and all. Secondly, I wish that all of my online writing was accessible to everyone. Currently I have approx 200 plus entries from a former site that I have yet been able to upload to this site. It had been maintained by another and for some reason, about three and a half years ago, it disappeared without warning. Miraculously, he did eventually return everything to me in the form of a .sql file which is a file I've no clue what to do with. I can open it one of the more sophisticated alternatives to notepad but that's pretty much it. Buried deep within all of the stuff that stares out from my computer monitor, I can make out my original entries. On days when I feel particularly ambitious, I've copied and pasted individual entries into this journal with the entry's original date stamp. With over 200 though, I've never quite felt that ambitious! Maybe one day soon - or maybe an idiot proof method of getting this file incorporated with this site will appear miraculously for me! Never, ever say never!

In the meantime, allow me to share one of the few original stories I managed to write while knee deep in addiction. May be a little graphic for some, but it never fails to make me suitably uneasy every time I force myself to read it, reminding me of how important my recovery and sobriety is to me and mine. This story is way too autobiographical for my liking as I seemed to spend many similar days to the one I wrote about than I cared to admit.

LIQUID LUNCHES - a short story
I like to call myself a functioning addict or a responsible junky - an oxymoron if I have ever heard one. You ask what makes me so different or special from other junkies or addicts? Well, nothing really except the amount of work involved. It is much harder to be a functioning addict. You are forced to live two very separate and distinct lives. Your public face is the only face that anyone is allowed to see. no one can be allowed entry into your private world. This you keep very well hidden from view.

No one can know that your half hour lunch is not sitting down at the nearest coffee shop consuming today’s special washed down with a couple of cups of coffee. No, instead you have quickly headed over to the local public library and have locked yourself in one of their bathroom stalls. Once you are safely behind its closed door, you carefully remove a brown eyeglasses case from your purse only you don’t have a spare pair of glasses in it. You place a strip of toilet paper across the back of the toilet bowel and gently place a spoon on it.  

You grab one white pill out of your baggy and place it in the centre of the spoon. With the end of your lighter, you carefully crush it until it is a fine white powder. Next you rip the packaging off of a new syringe and open your small bottle of sterile water, placing the tip of the syringe in it to draw up 50 units. Carefully you fill the spoon with water.

Lifting the spoon up into the air, you flick your lighter and aim the flame so that it is centered beneath the spoon. The water starts to bubble and the fine powder dissolves. Breaking some cotton off the end of one of the many q-tips you have, you drop it dead centre into the warm liquid. Quickly you suck the liquid out of the spoon into the syringe. Sit back for a second to breathe a sigh of relief. No clumsy accidents. So far, so good. Taking some more toilet paper, you wipe your spoon clean before returning it to its case. You make sure that your small bottle is properly capped and your baggy zipped up tightly. You crumple the syringe’s wrapper up tightly and place it in the case also. You will have to dispose of it later.

Enough time should have passed so that the liquid had cooled. You perch your rear at the edge of the toilet seat making sure your feet are square to the ground. Taking a look at both arms you decide which one to go for this time. The left looks as if it will yield the best results. You tap your forearm a few times and flex your hands. Carefully you remove the cap from your syringe. Taking a deep breath you stick the needle into your skin gently pulling the plunger back a fraction. A rich red floods the barrel. Bulls eye. With as steady a hand possible and a silent plea for them to remain that way, you depress the plunger at a uniform rate until all of the liquid has disappeared.

Bliss. Now not too quickly, you remove the point from your skin, firmly pressing some tissue over the bloody hole. Once the bleeding has stopped, you qrab the point of the needle with your bloodied tissue and twist it until it snaps off. Throwing both into the toilet, you flush them down the drain. You recap your now empty syringe and return it to its place in the eyeglass case. Wrap two elastics around the case and return it to your purse. You certainly can not be too careful. You want no rude surprises should you ever drop purse with contents spilling everywhere. Too big a risk to take for the functioning addict.

You gather your stuff and exit the stall, stopping to wash and dry your hands. Look for your comb to run through your hair. As everything went smoothly, you still have time to freshen your makeup. Touch of lipstick and a brush of powder and you are good to go. With one final glance back at the mirror, you open the bathroom door refreshed and satisfied by your half hour lunch break.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Grass Is Never Greener

I love my brother to death and am so excited that he’s able to come home for a quick visit thanks very much to the generosity of our Mom. He arrives home tomorrow evening and will be spending a week in Ontario before he has to return to work down east in Nova Scotia. This time though his family will be following him a week later as they all finally are able to make this permanent move. He found a nice four bedroom semi-detached house to rent which he says is pretty reasonable etc. This is a tremendous relief to him as he has spent the past year stressed out to the max drowning in an every increasing debt load with no apparent relief in sight. I guess after spending the past ten months or so trying in vain to convince his wife that they were in an incredible mess financially, she has finally accepted this most unpleasant fact. Of course, only since her father sat  her down to talk to her a week ago does she believe any of this. WTF? After listening to some of the things that my brother has recently told me, plus some of the things that she has been saying, I now strongly feel that their living well beyond their means is something much more serious than an inability to stick to a budget. She seems to have an addiction of sorts, an illness it would seem.

Besides the $200 000 mortgage that they have, she has managed to accumulate close to $150 000 in personal debt alone. How is this even possible? They’ve got three lines of credit alone that total almost $103 000, plus about a dozen or so credit cards all maxed right out to their limit. They may own more for all I know as these were the numbers that my bro quickly rattled off to me the other night while we were on the phone. I kind of have the feeling that this is but just the tip of the iceberg. This almost seems worse than a drug addiction. She obviously is incapable of practicing any sort of self control either. He says that all she ever worries about is what her friends or neighbours would think if they didn’t have this or that or whatever…

I knew that she was the type of individual that always seemed envious of what others had. She rarely seemed satisfied with her lot in life nor was she shy in letting others around her know  how she felt. I also knew how very important it was to keep up with those proverbial JONES, apparently at any cost. I knew that she was concerned with appearances but I had no clue the depth of this behaviour. I know my bro has spent the past 15 years providing for his family like few other men would be able to, and yet, she continues to find criticism in what he does.

She was the one that made him take this job out of province. She applied for this job on his behalf, sent out his resume to the company that he now works for as well as arranging his interviews, etc. Like the obedient husband he is, off he went to a strange province with no benefit of any sort of family or real support, and for the past four months  has worked and lived like a dog with nary a word of complaint. Literally every penny he makes is sent back home, and how is he rewarded? Every night, he has to listen to her sob and cry and carry on about how hard it has been since he left, how she has to do all of the housework and gets no break at all from the kids. I guess she berates him and goodness knows what else – this according to my Mom who has been told all of this directly from the horse’s mouth herself! Apparently, she says a whole lot worse stuff but I’ve not got the stomach right now for all of that garbage.

Nor do I think any of this mess has really registered with her properly as just the other day she was telling my Mom that there was no way that she would live in a rental less than $3000/month, nor would she live in anything but an immaculately maintained home – this from someone who hasn’t a clue how to even do housework! She said that she wouldn’t take anywhere that already had carpet as she didn’t want anyone else’s dirt near her. Only hard wood or laminate would do. No townhouse or apt either. Goodness gracious. Wonder how she’s going to react when she sees the $1200 beauty her husband has rented for her? And, who is she kidding? The only reason she is accepting anything right now is she has run out of time. She is literally getting out of Dodge the day before the bank seizes her home, vehicle and then shuts down all of the utilities - this will happen when you fail to pay any of these bills for months at a time!

Karma. It’s a bitch. Not saying that she deserves it this bad but she did make this mess pretty much all on her own. Again, its my bro and nieces and nephew that don’t deserve any of this and yet, they’re the ones that end up suffering over and over. It is really so very, very sad.  

Saturday, August 07, 2010


This entry is sort of a continuation of my response to Hashish Dreams and Heroin Nightmares entry Number One. She had been discussing mothers with young children who were still in the midst of active use and addiction. Even though she, herself, had once been a very heavy drug abuser, finding out she was going to have a child and then his subsequent birth had really been the impetus needed to straighten out her life. She found herself questioning how other women in similar situations were able to continue to use and abuse drugs. This particular issue is one I have very strong feelings about and the following is my response to what she had written:

I am also a recovering addict with just over four and a half years clean time under my belt so far..this time anyway...I am also a mother to two beautiful girls - no, women now - both of whom are in their twenties. Pretty simple math to see that I was indeed an active user at some point of their lives as they were growing up these past couple of decades. I make no apologies now, although I have and did many times over to reach my current space.

Personally, I managed to abstain from everything except alcohol for the first ten years as a mother. Shortly after Sara's ninth birthday I ended up opening my own business which just happened to be a small live entertainment venue - a bar where the local punk bands had a place to get their first start et al...OK? Now, for the next two years a lot of my time was spent building my business and everything that this entails. Obviously I had to socialize more than I had previously and from this, everything else seemed to follow. I know I don't need to paint a picture. This lead to my first go-round with methadone.

Spent five years completely opiate free until towards the end of 2003 when, after nine months of living my Dad's battle with cancer and radiation and chemo and then his death finally, I made the arrogant mistake of believing I would be the exception to the rule of just being able to do it one more time...

To say this was an error in judgment would have to be the understatement of last century. And from there I am now here. Those couple of years of use during their early teen years I now regret very much. At the time, I was able to rationalize with the best of them cause I never, ever disappeared, I was always there when they went to school and again upon their return. I never ever missed an opportunity to volunteer at their schools and attended every single one of their school trips/outings even when they had started high school.

But, honestly, I was probably just there in body and not really in spirit, but this topic still causes me a lot of discomfort so...I understand though, your feelings on this subject from the perspective of a new Mom cause this was one realm I simply was unable to understand - while pregnant and especially during your baby's formative years, you really can't be both an addict and a mother. Make a choice. Choose one. Stick with it. Don't be so bloody selfish that by your actions you end up creating one more victim of this disease that the world does not need, nor does this innocent deserve.

Please, understand me, I was not at all suggesting that you would happen to fall into this category either. I get we both are very much on the same page regarding this issue. If interested, I ranted about this very topic over a year and a half ago but in much greater detail.




Please, excuse my very long post. I apologize for carrying on as long as I did and I thank you in advance for allowing me to do this.

peace, love and happiness...

This particular issue has driven me to distraction for an eternity...I remember a couple of years ago while having  a conversation with a friend she happened to ask me if I  had ever hit in front of the girls. Boy, I have to admit that this question really took me aback as I’d been having a hard time even accepting the fact that they know that I was/am a user. As long as they were unaware, it was much easier for me to remain actively addicted with far less guilt and greater denial. Even though when Sara was much younger though I wouldn’t even use in the privacy of the bathroom if she was in the house. I’d sooner say that I was going out to get coffee and doughnuts and do it at the nearest Tim Horton’s than sully her safe place. Always felt that to use when she was anywhere around would ultimately be bad karma for her and me regardless of how well I happened to keep my use hidden.

I mean I was so protective of this form of lifestyle never intentionally crossing her path at any age that except for one brief bit of time which didn’t end up working out anyway, no dealer has even ever set foot in my house nor any other obvious user. We always took our business far away from our home and as she got older and more aware, unless I could hook up with someone prior to her getting home from school then I would also never leave the house once she was home for the day to hook us up. My regular dealers got used to my peculiar rules after awhile and did attempt to be as accommodating as possible once they realized that this would be to their benefit considering the amount of money that Jim and I would be spending and spending consistently and on a regular basis.

The only time that I would break my rule of not using while she was in the house would be late into the night while she was fast asleep and then of course, I would lock myself safely in the bathroom but I still always felt a certain amount of discomfort. I know that the question to me wasn’t meant to hurt or insult as I myself have encountered my share of junky moms who drag their kids to their dealers house with no regard to their mental health or even physical safety. Discreet these ladies are not. And yes I know that many of them will also use in front of them while they are infants and even preschoolers. This makes me cringe like nothing else either.

To be honest, most of my past dealers weren’t even aware that I had a child and the majority of the users that I would encounter at my dealers certainly were in the dark about this part of my life. If this subject did happen to come up, generally the first question that someone would end up asking me was whether or not I got to see my kid on a regular basis.
WTF? Well of course I do as she has never been away from me for so much as an evening. The majority were always stunned that after all these years I still had custody as most of them had long since lost custody of theirs due to their negligent behaviour. Colour me shocked.

This part of my addicted past has always caused me the most trouble emotionally and mentally. The one thing that I learned early into my opiate addiction was the relative ease at which a junky is able to rationalize away any type of their behaviour. This is one stereotypical characteristic that I was not immune to although prior to my addiction nothing could have caused me to act in manner that would be considered morally or ethically grey. Opiate addiction seems to strip this away from the most upstanding citizen rather quickly. I was no exception. It is shocking how easily I was able to slide into a previously unfamiliar area with no thought to any possible consequences.

In my entire life, I had never once opened my mother’s purse unless she had expressly asked me to but the moment that my use moved away from recreational, searching to see if she had any spare money gave me no qualms of guilt whatsoever. I remember walking by an unlocked truck one day which just happened to have a purse sitting in view of me and without missing so much as a beat, I had that door opened and the purse in my hand and me down that street out of view in record time. Where this even came from to this day I don’t even know but I can vividly remember how excited I was when I discovered that there was close to $400 in it. I am sure that I was at my dealer’s front door less than fifteen minutes later.

It is only now that I am back on methadone that I am moving out of this ethically challenged underworld.

When Sara was blissfully unaware of what we did for our recreation pleasure, I was able to use with absolute abandon. I suffered no or very little guilty feelings due to my use because I was able to rationalize it away with the fact that she was looked after first and foremost before any dope was even purchased. My child would never, ever suffer because of our addictions or weaknesses. In this regard, I may have actually done more harm than good but only time will really tell. To compensate for my weakness, Sara was never without anything that her heart desired. If all of the kids had the hottest pair of bluejeans then I made sure that Sara had half a dozen of them.

My intent was to ensure that she would in no way suffer because of us. I remember when she was in Grade 8 talking to some of the part timers here at work, some of whom were still in high school themselves, and asking them if I was being fair with her giving her an allowance of only $50 a week. Each and everyone of them was stunned silent and once they had found their collective voices they wanted me to adopt them. They thought that I was insane giving a thirteen year old that kind of pocket money considering that she didn’t have to even buy any of her own things out of it either. Plus they also knew that if “extra” events popped up that I would pony up money above and beyond what she already got. Talk about overcompensation. I know that I am still very much guilty of this habit to this day but this one is actually a real tough one to break.

I made sure that I never behaved in the same manner than some of the other junky moms. None of my kid’s toys would ever find themselves in some pawn shop – in fact, none of our household items – nor would she have to be content with thrift store clothing or never having money for even the cheapest school outing or having to wear some cheap hand me down graduation dress. No, nothing like this would or does occur.

I'll stop this entry here as its quite long, and I'd honestly be rather shocked if anyone has even managed to get this far!!! Cheers.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


OK…Need to count to ten before I continue. Should know better and yet…Just lost the entry I’d been working on for the past half an hour cause one of my husband’s computers is retarded. Actually its not so much the computer, as it is the bloody, stupid mouse he uses. GRRRR…He can’t use a normal mouse like the rest of the planet, no, he has to use one of those stupid and challenging ones with a scroll ball attached. And, yes, of course, its the mouse’s problem and not the operator! Duh.

OK. What I had been attempting to write about prior to my being rudely interrupted and sabotaged had been the announcement of us having actually gone to the cinema today to see a movie, something we’ve not done for a number of years now. My Mom, Jim and I decided to take a couple hours break from trying to shop in yesterday’s oppressive humidity by taking a bit of an air conditioned cinema break. We decided on seeing INCEPTION. It did not fail to entertain. It was everything that the critics have been going on about these past couple of weeks – almost. Just a small, a minor one really, complaint regarding the unneccesary length of the two main action sequences of the film. That’s all I’m going to say about that cause anyone intend on seeing the film while its in the theaters really should try to go as spoiler free as possible, and to say much more now would just be cruel and unfair.

One thing I can mention about the film, or more specifically the particular copy that the cinema got, is that about two thirds of the way through it…KABOOM…screen goes completely black while dialog continues on for an additional three or four minutes until nothing. Apparently there were some technical difficulties involved. We actually didn’t mind this little bit of an interruption as we took this opportunity to slip out for a quick smoke and bathroom break. Plus, for our troubles, we all received coupons to see our next movie free of charge. Sweet.

All in all, I ended up having a most surprising and pleasant day. Absolutely love these unexpected moments, and have now learned to truly treasure and enjoy each and every one that comes along.

peace, love and happiness…

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Don't Drag Me Down

Talked to my brother for the first time in over three months. It was so sweet to finally get to talk to him. He’s finally got a phone so he’s now able to keep in touch with his family in Ontario while he slaves away all by his lonesome in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He had to move out there at the end of March for work as he had been unable to successfully find anything suitable here. Last August, after having worked at the same company for over 21 years, he found himself without employment when his employer went bankrupt. No owed vacation pay, no severance pay and now, apparently, none of the monies he’d been contributing for his retirement for the past two decades! For this last one, his former employer is now under investigation for having used his employees benefits illegally for other stuff that he shouldn’t have. Imagine that!!!

My brother has been finding it pretty rough all by himself, and I certainly don’t blame him. He had to leave a wife and four kids behind. They’ll be here until his house manages to sell as they can’t afford to join him until and unless it does, and unfortunately, right now it doesn’t look good at all for them. First off, they paid way too much for it when they bought it five years ago, and even though he has made more than $100 000/year for close to a decade now – plus his wife also works – they don’t have so much as a bean saved up between the two of them. Never mind the fact that neither one of them bothered to put some money away for a rainy day, they’ve also managed to max out four or five credit cards, have a line of credit with the bank which is outstanding, as well as a car payment that all had been a challenge to meet financially while gainfully employed. So now, things are looking bleak indeed for them.

I really feel badly for my brother and the little ones cause they’re all more or less victims in this situation. They have all been at the mercy of my sister-in-laws neverending nor never satisfied quest of keeping up with the Jones. She is incapable of being thankful for what she has right in front of her and has spent the last fifteen years constantly criticizing one thing or another. Its so tempting to remind her how absolutely and utterly terrible she treated me back in 1999 when I found myself in a bit of financial trouble. The names she called would make your toes curl, and at times, I’d love to throw all of this back in her face, but to what end? I know I wouldn’t end up feeling any better, in fact, I’m guessing I’d feel worse. Won’t accomplish anything either. Just knowing I could do this is powerful enough for me – plus, she has finally shown her true colours to my mother after years of subterfuge that I even have someone to talk to about her ridiculous behaviour and treatment of others!!!

If you’re interested at all you can get some background if you start HERE, then read THIS next and finally take a look at this ONE. This should give you a better understanidng of what I am ranting about at the moment, plus saves me a boatload of typing especially cuz I suck at typing!

Live Fast, Die Pretty

Another young sole lost forever, gone too soon due to a drug overdose. The newest victim in the city where I live was a teenage male barely sixteen years young. Although, the official autopsy report has not yet been completed, the local media is reporting that his death was caused by snorting powdered methadone. So say many of the deceased’s family and friends, including his mother and her boyfriend and many who attended the same party as the teen. Obviously, I feel for his loved ones loss. A tragedy of epic poportions that should never, ever have even happened, but it did…nothing can change this fact.

My daughter and I ended up getting into a bit of a fight over the whole ordeal too. She was too emotional that she wasn't quite prepared to actually listen to what I was trying to say. I told her that while I empathized - one of her best friends was close to the family and had to attend the funeral - I also said that good kids do not do some of the things that he had done, and good kids don't end up overdosing. When she heard this, she lost all sense of reason and nothing after that could even begin to help my position. Whatever...Unfortunately, no matter how hard it may be to hear this, it is true, very true.

Good kids do not get suspended three times while in Grade Eight nor do they get expelled from their first year of high school, expecially if they're attending the most liberal and lenient school in the district - believe me, same school my girls attended and the school and I butted heads numerous times over their laissez faire attitude towards their students and their behaviour. Good kids do not go to parties prepared to snort up whatever pile happens to be put in front of them. Good kids...I could go on but I'd like to think that my point has been made and understood.

I think as parents we want to believe that our children are good kids and because of this, end up excusing behaviour we probably shouldn't. It's a terrible way to learn a lesson, but maybe we can all take something away from this tragedy and turn it around. Maybe we need to police our teenagers much more strictly than we do currently. Maybe they'll hate us for this but maybe they'll thank us for saving their lives.

Teenager's Death Sounds Alarms
In most ways, he was just a normal teenager.

He got into a bit of trouble, but he was smart and loved, say the friends and family of **** ********, 16.

He called himself "Lightning," after the Disney Cars character Lightning McQueen, and his sense of humour never failed to light up the room.

Now ********'s light is extinguished, and his friend lucky to be alive, apparently after an experiment with a drug that has appeared suddenly on London streets, a drug far more lethal than many think.

Friends and family say ******** snorted a lethal line of methadone, and drug outreach workers have confirmed a supply of the dangerous powder has hit the streets.

"It is exceedingly lethal if you don't know what you are doing," said Henry Eastabrook, an outreach worker with the London InterCommunity Health Centre. "Word is, powdered methadone is on the street right now."

Perhaps because it is used by heroin and OxyContin addicts to kick their habits, methadone is seen as less dangerous than other drugs.

"I wouldn't think the average teenager is aware of how dangerous it is," said Dr. John Craven of Clinic 528, which uses methadone to help opioid addicts.

"Methadone is extremely dangerous, especially if you have never taken it before. It is far more dangerous than OxyContin."

******** died at a party he attended July 12.

According to several of his friends, one boy brought the lethal drug in a powdered form to the party. ******** and another boy snorted more than the others. All the kids started to feel sick and fell asleep - some of the symptoms of methadone overdose. When the other boys woke up, ******** was dead. The other boy who had snorted more than the rest was unconscious.

That boy ended up in hospital, on life support, but has since been discharged.

It's not clear if the boys knew exactly what they were snorting, and that kind of experimental approach by London's youth is alarming police and addiction workers.

"It used to be pot, magic mushrooms and acid," said Const. Carl Noel, a secondary school resource officer. "Now, there seems to be a popularity of illegal prescription medication, like OxyContin or Percocets. I don't think they understand the severity of taking those drugs. I think the stuff is available, someone says it's awesome and they try it."

Methadone had no business being in the hands of a 16-year-old boy in the first place, said ********'s grieving mother, ******** ********.

"How did kids get powdered methadone? Something needs to be done to stop this stuff from getting into the hands of kids," she said, tears streaming down her face as she spoke in her south London home this week.

"Kids experiment. But this methadone is very lethal, and 16-year-old kids don't know that."

Asked about an investigation into ********'s death, London police said the matter is in the hands of the coroner's office. Regional coroner Dr. Rick Mann would not comment.

Family members said Mann told them the cause of death won't be known for sure until toxicology tests are complete in several weeks.

But the family is convinced ******** snorted methadone and believe a crime has been committed.

"Someone got their hands on someone else's prescription and it leaked out and now my son is dead," ******** said.

Powdered methadone is so tightly controlled, pharmacists wondered aloud how it could have reached the streets.

"It comes hand-delivered to us," said one pharmacist.

Every bit must be accounted for, she said, adding there have been no thefts from her pharmacy.

"It is a very controlled drug," said London pharmacist Suresh Kommineni, adding there have been no thefts from his pharmacy.

Methadone is prescribed for pain relief or to help people get off other drugs.

It is dispensed in two forms - tablets provided by drug companies, which can be taken home, and the powder, which pharmacists mix into a liquid.

Methadone clinics provide the liquid form. Most people drink on site, but some are allowed to take the liquid home.

Some people sell the liquid for other drugs. But the liquid can't be boiled into powder and the tablets aren't much good ground down either, said pharmacists and addiction workers.

"If someone has methadone powder, it is either stolen or diverted from a doctor's office or pharmacy," Craven said.

Any form is dangerous, he hastened to add.

********'s boyfriend **** ******** said methadone users must be aware that the drug that helps them can kill another.

"To leave this around, you might as well have a loaded handgun on the table," said ********.

Many of ********'s family and friends used Facebook to discuss the need to educate others about the dangers of methadone.

"This is also for the kids that never got the privilege to know ****, to look up the dangers of methadone, and what it can do to you," said Londoner Steph Lefave in an e-mail interview.

"Spread the word. Everyone has their own **** ********. We lost ours. Hold onto yours. Protect yours."

Intelligent, Funny Teen Will Be Missed
The next time you see a bolt of lightning, remember **** *******.

That's what many across the city - and particularly in Old South - will do as they cling to memories of the 16-year-old boy who sometimes jokingly called himself Lightning ******** and who died suddenly last week after a night of partying.

The teen's parents wait for police or a coroner to confirm what they know - that their son died after snorting a powdered, prescription drug, methadone.

In the days after his drug overdose, nearly 1,000 people joined a Facebook page set up in ****'s memory, filling it with memories and general warnings against snorting methadone.

He didn't know it was methadone, said several friends. Someone brought it to the party. He thought it was crystal meth, say some. He thought it was Percocet, say others.

It doesn't matter, they insist. All that matters is **** is gone.

On the page, one friend recalled ****'s devastation on seeing a dog hit by a passing car, and recalled him sitting with the dog until its owner came looking for it.

Others wondered if he was responsible for the bolts of lightning seen over London since his death.

"He loved lightning," said his mom, Colleen Morton. "Called himself Lightning ********. He loved purple, he loved camping, smores. He was a clean freak."

Clinging to whatever she can remember, Morton said she still has an old Mother's Day card he gave her as a boy. It was filled with promises, and all of them involved cleaning.

"I don't remember him crying, ever," she said. "Does that make me a bad mom? I don't know, I guess it does."

She hasn't stopped crying during a two hour interview.

**** was smart. In and out of trouble since he was young, he won the Grade 8 math award at Princess Elizabeth public school, despite three suspensions that year.

He went to South secondary school for Grade 9, but ended up suspended and at the school board's U-Turn alternative education program before starting fresh at H.B. Beal last year. Within a few weeks, despite absences, he was excelling in academic math, she said.

"He could have been anything. A doctor, a lawyer, an astronaut. ... He could have invented things. I don't know, maybe this was his purpose in life," said Morton.

**** was closest with his dad, **** ********. The elder ******** told The Free Press he wanted to talk about his son, but wasn't ready yet.

"His dad's not doing so well whatsoever," said his on-and-off girlfriend of four years, **** ****.

**** still had ****'s skateboard this week. He rode it over to her house the last time they hung out.

"He was good at skateboarding. He was really gifted at a lot of things," she said. "Literally, he was the strongest, most positive person I knew and he did get suspended and stuff, but really he was polite and very respectful and he was just an amazing guy.

"Everybody loved him," she said, laughing for an instant as she recalled their first meeting. They were with a group of friends, going to watch Shrek 2 at the theatre.

"Right away, he started telling jokes. That's who he was," she said. "He'd tell you a joke, or do anything to make you smile in some way, and then you would just love him."

There is a lot of pain and guilt among those who love ****. Many contacted through Facebook wouldn't comment, afraid whoever brought the methadone to the party is racked with guilt.

Nobody wants to blame anybody for ****'s death. Boys said to be his closest friends didn't want to talk, but others did.

"Man that kid could make me laugh," said Steph Lefave, 22, in a Facebook conversation. "Although I did not have the privilege of knowing **** as long as I would have liked, I will tell you ... he did not judge. He did not boast, he didn't hold grudges."

His mom is gutted by regret.

"I regret letting him go to his friends so much on the weekends, thinking I had the rest of his life.

"I never pushed those issues. I wanted to let him be a teenager. Maybe if I had put a tighter chain on him."

She clings to the memory of their final conversation.

"He always said 'I love you' and I know my last words to him were 'I love you,' and his were 'I love you, mom.' "

The family is planning a public memorial party for **** next Wednesday night at Rouge nightclub.