Cornwall ON – Today as I prepare to attend my graduation at St. Lawrence College and once again take another step into adulthood, I do so with a heavy heart. Days such as this one act as a reminder of things my beloved younger cousin will never get to experience.
Bradley Richardson or just Brad as he was known to his loved ones, past away last August due to an overdose of hrydomorphone at the age of 21. Now as I get ready to walk the podium and grasp my hard earned certificate in both hands I can’t help but feel frustrated. Because today as I have opportunity to experience this achievement with my parents I know it is just one more thing Brad didn’t get to experience in his short life.
Unfortunately the stigma that comes with a tragedy such as this is that his death was his own fault. The common phrase I heard just days after his passing is, “no one made him take the drug it was his own decision.” This statement is 100 percent true but it doesn’t explain how he was able to so easily obtain this lethal drug. And as I see our government handing out millions upon millions of dollars to the RCMP in a feeble attempt to stop the smuggling of cigarettes, I become enraged. Simply because our biggest issue right now in this community is not the sale of cheaper cigarettes that save its addicted consumers hundreds of dollars a month. Cornwall’s biggest problem is the hundreds if not thousands of its citizens that are addicted to some form of prescription drug.
As I get older and my idealism begins to fade I begin to understand simple truths. Such as the government of Canada rather find a way to recover their lost revenue in cigarette taxes than to help clean up this city. Another sad truth is that the youth of today have an easier time getting their hand on drugs such as oxycotin than they do marijuana or alcohol.
Brad made a mistake, this is fact. However in ones adolescence when mistakes come at such a high frequency it shouldn’t cost you your life. This is where Brad was let down by the system and Harper’s laughable tough on crime polices. It’s more like tough on crimes that cost the government money, not the ones that end lives.
When I shake my program coordinators hand this afternoon and then look into the crowd to see my proud parents, Brad will be in my thoughts. Then once again I will be reminded of how my government let him and people just like him down.
I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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