B.C. mom calls on doctors to let parents help their addicted kids

Report that says parents are overlooked in treating substance abuse reflects mother’s experience

Izzy Bailey was only 21 years old when she fatally overdosed in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. (Rhonda Dent photo)

A B.C. woman whose daughter died of a drug overdose is calling on the province to better involve family in addiction treatment.

Deborah Bailey spent many frustrating years trying to get proper treatment for her adopted daughter, Izzy, before she died just before Christmas in 2015.

Izzy overdosed four times in the year before her death. Bailey was never told about those, however, because her daughter was legally an adult.

“She may have been 21, but maturity-wise, she was more like a 14-year-old,” the Vancouver woman said. “She was a little gal we adopted, so she had alcohol-related brain [issues].”

Both Izzy’s biological parents had struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, including when the mother was pregnant with Izzy, leading to the girl having problems with impulse control and understanding consequences.

When Izzy told doctors she wanted her family involved in her care, Bailey said the doctors didn’t listen.

“Often it’s cited as privacy and confidentiality between the doctor and the patient, but we are that child’s or that young adult’s greatest supporter and often have information that the doctors don’t have,” she said.

“I would take her to appointments, so I’d be sitting in the waiting room and often not be invited in.”

A BC Centre on Substance Use report released Wednesday found that doctors often pushed parents and relatives of addiction patients away.

“Although families of all descriptions are an extremely valuable resource in a person’s addiction care and recovery, they are too often overlooked in substance use service planning,” the report said.

There is no framework to get them involved in the care, the document read, and privacy laws can stop doctors from being proactive.

READ: Cracks loom large for parents of at-risk youth

It recommended building teams of healthcare professionals and case workers to liaise with families to get the best care for the patients.

Izzy was found dead in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside on Dec. 22, 2015, the result of a fentanyl overdose that Bailey thinks could have been prevented if she had been allowed to take home the medication Suboxone.

“At that time, Suboxone carries – being able to take it home with you – was much more difficult to get,” said Bailey.

“I told her doctor that ‘I’m just trying to keep my kid alive here’ and he just shrugged at us and would not allow the Suboxone carries.”

Bailey was occasionally able to get a prescription for Izzy to take home Suboxone, but she said Izzy’s addictions specialist would repeatedly take her off the medication without Bailey knowing the reason, forcing her daughter to go to the pharmacy to get her daily dose.

“She overdosed because she couldn’t get there,” Bailey said. “She was cooperative about being on Suboxone but she was also addicted.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Saanich for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

Greater Victoria businesses come together to help Island kids

Langford Lowe’s raises funds for youth mental health all month

Sidney builds community resilience through neighbourhood gatherings

Meet Your Street needs residents to create gatherings, safe interactions

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read