Man bikes across Canada to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse
Published Friday, August 15, 2014 6:22PM ADT
Last Updated Friday, August 15, 2014 7:33PM ADT
A young man who has struggled with prescription drug abuse is cycling across Canada to raise awareness. Chris Cull is also filming his journey in the hopes of producing a documentary to shed light on the issue.
Cull’s father took his own life when he was 22. He started using Percocet to cope, and before long, he was addicted to prescription pills, buying OxyContin on the street.
“I lost my sense of ethics, my sense of wonder of the world to explore. I lost everything,” says Cull. “I wouldn’t wish that upon anybody, but unfortunately, more and more people are going through it.”
Now clean, the 29-year-old wants to use his experience to help others. He met a film producer last summer who agreed to work with him on a documentary, and by December, Cull was in training for a cross-country bike tour.
The following month, he sold his home in Ontario to help pay for the project.
Cull left Victoria, B.C. on May 15 and has been stopping to talk to people, from addicts to medical professionals, along the way.
He will also be talking to families that have been affected by prescription drug abuse, including Amy Graves, whose brother Josh died in March 2011 after taking Dilaudid at a party.
In the days following her brother’s death, Graves started advocating, trying to raise awareness about the prevalence of prescription drugs on Nova Scotia streets.
“This is affecting everybody in every community across the country, so it’s great that he can shine a light as he’s moving across the country to places that may not have had the awareness,” says Graves.
Throughout his journey, Cull says one of the things that has stood out is the number of people he has met who are trying to do something about the prescription pill problem.
“And try to work together with them and try to create something special…and to help people by just taking all of our experiences and putting it all into one project and just try to share that with the rest of the world.”
Cull plans to wrap up his bike tour in St. John’s by Aug. 24, marking one year since the idea came to light.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster