Randy says that when a child his dream of fame was to be a hockey star.
He never thought that fame would come by reason of his against the odds recovery from addiction to drugs.
Randy was good at junior hockey, a happy young kid who somehow got into drugs and dropped out of school at the age of 17. It has been said that Randy’s childhood experience of success in the world, was marred by an abusive father.
By 23, Miller had got off drugs, become a welder, and married.
Following leg surgery, that would have been in Miller’s early 30′s, he used and became addicted to narcotics – and ended up back on the street, a dealer in drugs who had his patch corner Columbia and Hastings Street, using heroin and cocaine.
For thirteen years Randy lived on the streets, addicted to drugs – beyond redemption, homeless and cut off from his family.
Not many people walk away from drug use in downtown Vancouver, and Randy Miller has to thank the RCMP initiative of the year 1999 that took live footage of interactions between police and drug addicts in Vancouver – that became the iconic video – “Through a Blue Lens”.
Randy was one of the addict stars of the movie – a heroin addict writhing on the ground in the throes of drug psychosis – a movie that Randy could not bring himself to view for more than a year, so difficult was it for him to confront and face the reality of his addiction.
An infection is credited with getting Randy into hospital and the attention of authority figures, that got him onto a methadone program, that he eventually recovered from, to become drug free today.
In 2006, Randy was nominated in and received the eighth annual courage to come back award, in the addiction catagory, at the age of 52, in Vancouver, BC.
Coast Mental Health also tells the story of how Randy got into drug addiction and recovered, to regain employment and a girlfriend, to become a public speaker against illicit drug addiction.
It was a definate turning point for Randy when he discovered that against the odds he was not HIV positive, as a result of drug use, and whether it was the hospital and or the Odd Squad that got him back in touch with his family, is really not the point.
Randy met his estranged family, was motivated to get out of drug use, was put on a methadone program – that it took him three years to get out of, and he is now in recovery from drug use and addiction.
Randy is resilient – he should have died on the street – yet against the odds he survived – and according to Randy he does not know how he did it.
Today, Canadian kids in schools get visits from the Odd Squad that informs children about the dangers of drug use and Randy is one of their speakers. There is no doubt that the talks get the attention of kids – but if as a result a child wants to quit drugs - where do kids turn to from there?
Likely kids will be advised to use the traditional drug based system for detox and rehab if they have a drug problem – not all will have the resilience of Randy to get free of the maintenance drugs that are used to support traditional drug recovery programs, within 3 years or at all.
Well meaning people who provide drug education talks need to be aware that drug-based systems for addiction recovery are not the only option.
Drug free, comprehensive alcohol and drug addiction recovery models are based on scientific principles and natural healing methods – with an evidence based track record of success with addiction recovery.
In February 2012, the Ottawa Citizen ran an article concerned about the current “surge” in presentations of children in ER, suffering from drug related problems, that include the abuse of Ecstasy.
We have to get real and understand that kids as young as ten know all about drugs, and what they do, in the sense of providing a “high’, some excitement in life, and they know at an intellectual level that drug use is harmful.
None would know better than Randy Miller what it means to use drugs and recover, only to return to that slippery slope, against reason, against better judgement – and relapse for thirteen years.
Drug information is not drug prevention and mixed messages can inadvertantly be given to kids, by people who kicked drug addiction, but don’t really know how they did it.
In Canada, the reality is that despite the widespread use of traditional drug prevention programs, drug use by children is increasing.
Not enough people are aware that traditional drug maintenance programs have a failure rate of about 90% in terms of getting people into independent drug free living, and they expect relapse to occur.
No child wants to use drugs by choice, no child wants to become an addict – no one wants to be on a methadone program when completely drug free addiction recovery is possible.
We don’t help our kids to ovecome drugs – we simply feed into the system when in good faith, we provide drug information that fails to promote natural, drug free addiction recovery programs as being state of the art.
Drug counselors and educators wanting more information should call
Narconon Vancouver for comprehensive help and advice
on how to help kids find their way out of drug addiction and into a happy, addiction free life.