Cape Breton has a problem. A huge problem.

I’ve had people in their 20s tell me they know more people their age who have died than “old” people.

Young adult males in Cape Breton are more likely to be problem drinkers than not (over 50% binge drink at least once per month). WAY above the national average.

The CBRM clean needle exchange is having it’s busiest year ever (after double digit percentage increases year over year). In fact, this year could potentially see a 100% increase over last year.

It’s become the “normal”.

And it’s not right!

People are dying too young. Families are being ripped apart by addiction. Young people’s lives are being ruined almost beyond repair.

In 6 years in Cape Breton, I’ve had two funerals for teens who died of drug overdoses. Just recently I had another for a 30 year old male who is heavily involved with a local, well known drug dealer’s family.

And I’ve buried a young mother who had mental health issues which were made worse by drugs and alcohol, leaving behind 3 young children. It was her oldest son who found her body. She had committed suicide.

These are just a few of the tragic stories I know of personally. I’ve had others share equally tragic stories and worse of how drug and alcohol addiction has impacted their lives and their families.

It’s not right that this is the “normal” for Cape Breton. It has to change.

My friend Dave Sawler spearheaded a groundbreaking initiative to change this. It’s called “Faces of Addiction” and just recently the initial video was publicly released with the promise of more to come. He wants to see more money allocated to addiction prevention. Currently there is little to none. Most money goes to addiction recovery. But for some that money is too late, such as for the young mother and her children.

Watch the video below. Pray for the faces you see and the stories you hear. And pray for all who are trapped in addiction. Sadly, if you live in Cape Breton, you probably know someone. And do what you can to support addiction prevention.

Don’t know what you can do? Here are some options.

You can donate to Dave’s work here:

There are also many other groups that can use your support. Seek out the one in your community (for Sydney Mines that would be Community CARES Youth Outreach).

There are many ways to help.

  • You can donate.
  • You can volunteer.
  • You can lobby politicians to see what they are doing in the government to help with addiction prevention.

In doing so, you can offer hope to those who have lost theirs.