Responding to a crisis in our town

I have had the difficult task of making funeral arrangements for many overdose deaths lately

Editor:

I am a funeral director and embalmer currently working for a funeral home in Aldergrove. I have had the difficult task of making funeral arrangements for many overdose deaths lately. I recently attended a fentanyl awareness forum in Maple Ridge and now we are planning to go to the local high schools to create further awareness in this constituency.

Last Friday my son, who is also an employee of the funeral home I work for, attended a gathering at a friend’s home. A seven year friendship was cut short when his friend succumbed to a fentanyl overdose. My son and others attempted CPR, to no avail.

Along with the awareness campaign, we are putting together a very emotional and realistic video we would like to show to Langley district high school students.

We currently have the support of the local RCMP, BC Ambulance Service, local fire fighters and the BC Coroner’s Service.

Our next step is to make contact with the Langley School District. I am hoping to get the local MLA’s support in this as well as having him attend our first forum at either Aldergrove Secondary School or Langley Secondary School as a guest speaker.

I have a production company willing to assist in the creation of the video and many local services willing to be a part of that. What I really need now is the support of our local government.

This is coming from a personal level for me as I was an addict for 25 years. Next month I will celebrate four years clean and sober but I have lost dozens of friends to this fentanyl crisis.

A father I sat with a while ago, between sobs of grief, said to me, “I promised to take my daughter shopping for an outfit to wear for her graduation …now I have to decide what she will wear in her casket.”

I’m tired of arranging funerals for these young people. It’s time to step up and take a pro-active roll. I owe it to the ones out there suffering. I owe it to the families I served over the past few years. I owe it to our community.

I hope to have your support in this.

John Romeyn, Aldergrove