JORDAN- Forever 25
Irrepressible, Compassionate, Talented
Jordan was a go-getter as a child. He slept very little, and made us laugh through much of the day. There were signs of his ADHD(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)but since his dad and I knew almost nothing about ADHD, we just figured he was super high energy. He was independent and mostly fearless, a risk taker. Jordan was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia in grade 4. There was little treatment for ADHD known to us at that time.
Jordan was very athletic and daring. On a skateboard he would try the most difficult moves and usually land them! He was sponsored by a small skate shop in his teens. He learned to snowboard in 2 days!
In his mid-teens Jordan began smoking pot and drinking. By age 18 he was taking other drugs with friends. At that time their drugs of choice were cocaine and oxycodone. Jordan found that these drugs regulated his brain to a normal pace. It was as if drugs allowed him to be his authentic self. When I think back, there were mystifying verbally violent outbursts of rage over nothing, that lasted about 5 or 10 minutes, even into his mid teens. It was a release, I think. He was still the proverbial life of the party - handsome, funny, engaging. He loved girls and they loved him. With drugs he had confidence and balance.
After high school, Jordan knew he was struggling with his drug use. When he was 19 he asked to go into a recovery facility for a cocaine and alcohol addiction. Once there he hated the 12 step, abstinence based, 'write a journal entry everyday' approach. He left after two weeks of a six-week program. He relapsed and began accessing illicit pharmaceutical oxycontin.
At 23 he was on a job site and injured his back. Our family doctor then prescribed oxycontin for 7 months! Jordan became strongly addicted to this drug. Later, Jordan went to our doctor to get help for his serious addiction. The doctor angrily “fired” him as a patient when Jordan disclosed he was addicted. The doctor's words were, "If an addict's lips are moving he's lying". I was in the room, so I know this is true. The doctor was angry that Jordan had become addicted! Unbelievable! Jordan wanted to get back on track without drugs!
Working together we finally got him into a detox facility. During the two week wait time for detox, I bought illicit oxycontin so Jordan wouldn't go into withdrawal. I paid off drug dealers in a Walmart parking lot. It was a nightmare.
Detox took the drugs out of Jordan’s system but it did not address the addiction or the reason for it. We could find no support, no opioid agonist treatment (OAT), no counselling. There was just nothing. We now know that having a person go through detox without providing supports, puts people who use drugs in a very dangerous position. The compulsion to use is still present. If a person relapses and uses the same amount of drugs that they used before, they can overdose. Relapsing may also lead people to seek street drugs. These drugs are often deadly as they are of unknown strength and composition. Currently street drugs can be considered toxic and extremely dangerous. Jordan’s drug use and addiction were mostly before the toxic street drugs were prevalent. He was able to continue to get pharmaceuticals from doctors at various walk-in clinics. It was a combination of these drugs that were prescribed to him that stopped his heart. If there had been a wider path of treatments, Jordan may have been able to recover. If Jordan had found OAT, a regulated safe supply, an addictions doctor or one that understood addiction and treatment for ADHD, I believe he would be with us today.
The stigma of drug use: Our small community was likely judgemental, yet it was concerned. We were lucky. Most people liked Jordan, even loved him. They saw his erratic behaviour as annoying and sometimes frightening. They would often report to me. No one, not even me, really understood drug use at that time. If my community stigmatized Jordan they didn’t show it to me. Now that I am a visible advocate for good drug policies, my community is really on board.
This anecdote is a bit weird but it gives a sense of Jordan’s burgeoning compassion and empathy for those who needed help:
All ages of kids rode the school bus. One afternoon one of the youngest boys peed his pants. His peers were laughing at the boy and making fun of him. He was crying. Jordan at age about 13, walked over and sat with the boy and proceeded to pee his own pants. Laughter turned to amazement. Needless to say, the bus driver was not impressed. I was called to the school and Jordan was asked to wash the seats of the school bus. No one was really angry with him - in fact the bus driver and school staff talked about Jordan’s kindness even though it was very over the top.
What is the world missing because Jordan is no longer with us on the planet?
He could cheer up the most depressed folks. His laugh and his joy radiated out.
The world is missing a man who would help others at the drop of a hat.
The world is missing a man who could build anything, a man that would have been a fantastic father. He loved children and mentored kids in skateboarding.
Jordan wanted to recover! My heart will always be broken.
Written by Leslie McBain, Jordan’s mom