Maria Ordenana was in Calgary two weeks ago when she received the call about her son, 24-year-old Rashid Antonio Ahmed Ordenana. He had died of an apparent drug overdose.
"Coming home felt like the longest flight of my life," she said. "But it was only an hour."
Rashid and another patient had walked away from a mental health treatment facility in Langley, and were found the same night overdosing with another man in a parking lot. Despite the desperate efforts of first responders, Rashid's life could not be saved.
"Now it's my son. Tomorrow it's going to be someone else's son," Maria said, sobbing.
As she picks up the pieces, the grieving mother is speaking out about a problem she fears is preventing some struggling drug users from overcoming their addiction: predatory dealers who target treatment centres.
"My son told me there was always dealers outside facilities waiting for the patients," she said. "They know these patients are in recovery and they're addicts and they are looking for them."
In a province where thousands of lives have been lost to fentanyl and other opioids in recent years, she can't understand why more isn't being done to protect those who are working to get clean.
Maria said Rashid moved between different Fraser Health facilities in Coquitlam and Surrey before ending up at The Cottage, a 25-bed psychiatric unit at Langley Memorial Hospital that tragically turned out to be the last stop in his journey.
It wasn't the only place allegedly targeted by dealers, however. Maria said drugs were easily accessible a stone's throw from the facility Rashid stayed at in Surrey as well, and that he ultimately succumbed to the temptation.
"My son just crossed the street and got some drugs and went back to the facility," Maria said.
She claims some of the health workers who cared for her son even told her about the dealers. Fraser Health directed questions about the issue to local RCMP.
The Surrey detachment confirmed it is aware drug dealers sometimes hang around recovery houses and treatment centres. Langley RCMP said it has received complaints about drug activity at The Cottage, but not within the last year.
Both detachments urged the public to report any suspicious activity they witness so that officers can respond.
But Maria feels more can be done; she is calling for security cameras and a stronger police presence at the treatment centres where people young and old are struggling to get better.
"My son was sick and he was looking for help," she said. "What kind of help is this?"
With files from CTV Vancouver's Michele Brunoro