Grieving dad warns of dangers of prescription drugs
Published Wednesday, May 30, 2012 6:47PM ADT
A Halifax man has come forward to talk about the death of his stepdaughter, after she took an opiate while partying with friends nearly two years ago.
When 20-year-old Brianne Ashley went to sleep that night, she never woke up. Her stepfather says he thinks about her everyday.
"I cry pretty much everyday because of my baby," John Munro tells CTV News.
Munro says Ashley called him on September 20, 2010 to tell him she was going out with friends to celebrate her upcoming birthday.
But when she failed to answer her phone the next day, Munro went to check on her. When he arrived at her apartment, a police officer was standing outside her door.
"The police officer wouldn't let me in and I persisted," he says. "She said ‘she's not in there…she's at the morgue.'"
He soon learned that Ashley had taken the prescription drug Dilaudid the night she died. It's still unclear how she obtained it but Munro suspects it was offered to her at a party. He says she wasn't a drug user.
"She was intelligent, articulate, well composed…loved people," he says of his daughter.
Today, Nova Scotia's chief medical examiner revealed that at least 56 people have died from prescription drug abuse in the Halifax area between 2010 and 2011, and Munro says releasing these numbers is the first step in ending what many are calling a ‘silent epidemic.'
A similar report released in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley last year shows close to a dozen deaths in the area were attributed to prescription drugs and the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness has hired an epidemiologist to identify the different features of drug abuse and addiction from region to region.
But Munro is urging the province to complete a written report on prescription drug-related deaths in the Halifax Regional Municipality, and he says he won't rest until an official report is made available.
He also says it's what his daughter would have wanted.
"She'd say ‘yes dad, do it!' Other people need to know there are people out there that need to be saved."
With files from CTV Atlantic's Alyse Hand