On a warm Sunday, October afternoon, the kind of fall day when it seems anything is possible, I went to a funeral.

I knew the dead man by proxy. I never met him.

One of those things a dutiful partner does because it’s the right thing to do.

He was dead at 36.


Another casualty of the opioid epidemic ravaging cities and towns alike.

Last summer a hometown buddy told me his daughter’s friend, 14 at the time, with her whole life in front of her was having a limited-time engagement at a local funeral parlour.

Popped a pill at a party. Didn’t know. Dead.

I was ahead of the curve on the whole opioid epidemic.

In 2004, I was sent to rugged Appalachia to do a story on something called Oxycontin or as cops called it, Hillbilly Heroin.

Huge swaths of rural West Virginia, western Pennsylvania, Kentucky and other luckless podunk towns were being ravaged by the deadly new drug.

Main Street — they all had Main Streets — looked like the zombie-fied set of The Walking Dead. Stiletto-thin with lifeless eyes, the addicts’ faces told a heart-stopping tale of misery.

Loved ones spilled their guts, telling me of their despair of not being able to get help. Standing over their child’s coffin.

Now, the days of the Oxycontin plague seem like a trip to Canada’s Wonderland.

The latest viral death machine started in Canada on the west coast, as these things frequently do.

Wave after wave of the killer pharmaceutical fentanyl began hitting our shores, courtesy of clandestine labs in China, aided and abetted by the greedy and cruel here. And the bodies began piling up: in suburban homes, downtown alleys and in the morgue.

What’s being sold is murder.

Cash has no conscience.

Up to the end of July this year, 368 people had died of fentanyl overdoses in British Columbia. The death toll in Canada last year was nearly 3,000.

This year will be worse.

Now, the judiciary appears to have had enough as broken family after broken family trudge their way to court and watch as their child’s killer takes a tap on the wrist. No more.

Joshua Eyamie-Binks, 31, and Cortney Rattray-Johnson, 27, of Ottawa, cried crocodile tears as they pleaded guilty to selling fentanyl. He got a 10-year jolt in the Big House, she went down for an eight spot last summer.

Greasy Todd Dube, 22, a frequent flier in the criminal justice system got sorted with nine years in the slammer for his fentanyl flirtation in Edmonton.

Kristy Dyroff saw her son, Wesley Greer’s corpse put in a bodybag, the child she had nurtured was now cold as ice. She has pushed the courts to hit fentanyl dealers with manslaughter charges when a death is involved.

“When I read his death certificate and it said ‘homicide,’ it changed everything in my mind,” the Georgia woman told the Orlando Sentinel. “I had to make sure whoever did this had to be stopped.”

She is also tackling websites selling the poison.

“I think… Wesley would be proud of his mother,” she said through her tears.



(*) Carfentanil: Canada’s drug of mass destruction

See Also:

(1) Police report five fatal overdoses in one day in Abbotsford, B.C.

(2) The Chinese connection fueling America’s fentanyl crisis

(3) Synthetic Fentanyl Deaths Rise in Americans Opioid Epidemic

(4) This Is the New Threat Driving the Opioid Crisis

(5) Opioid Arrest: Insys Therapeutics founder indicted

(6) Opioid crisis: Sellers tout prescription drugs on social media

(7) 1-year-old dies after ingesting powerful synthetic opioid

(8) Deadly opioid epidemic that is crippling the US is set to spread to Europe

(9) Walgreens now sells overdose antidote over-the-counter without a prescription as the US battles deadly drug epidemic

(10) Doctor admits accepting nearly $200,000 in kickbacks to illegally prescribe fentanyl spray to patients who did not need it

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