‘You can’t help but blame yourself’: Family speaks out after son ODs
Published Tuesday, August 11, 2015 7:36PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 11, 2015 7:47PM PDT
The son of a CTV News journalist has been hospitalized after taking a drug believed to be fentanyl, and the family is speaking out in hopes of sparing others from their heartbreak.
Anthony Hampton wasn’t breathing when his mom and stepdad found him in bed the afternoon of July 17. One small pill was all it took to put the 18-year-old Calgary resident in a coma.
“He had blue lips and blue hands,” his mother Pat Forgio said. “[He] wasn’t moving and I couldn’t wake him.”
A 911 dispatcher coached Forgio through the CPR procedure while paramedics made their way to the home. Anthony was rushed to hospital, but the prognosis wasn’t good – an MRI showed he’d suffered significant brain damage.
“He’d been without oxygen for too long,” Forgio said.
Anthony was put on life support for several days, but he eventually started showing signs of improvement.
His father Reg Hampton, who works for CTV Calgary, said the latest update is that his teenage son has started showing emotion, either by laughing or crying.
The latter has been difficult to watch.
“You can’t help but blame yourself, especially being in the media,” Hampton said. “All of these stories about fentanyl and oxy and other drugs. And I keep saying to myself: I should have maybe had one more conversation with him.”
Though the young man has made some progress, a full recovery isn’t guaranteed at this point.
“Maybe we’ll get our Anthony back,” Hampton said. “We just don’t know.”
Police looked through Anthony’s cell phone, and told the parents they found texts showing he tried to buy pot before his overdose.
His drug dealer claimed he was out of marijuana and suggested Anthony try harder drugs instead: supposed oxycontin, which police believe was likely fentanyl.
“From all accounts, he tried this once,” Hampton said. “He just tried this pill that he thought was oxy, one time.”
Authorities believe drug dealers add fentanyl to street drugs to increase addiction. For occasional drug users, the difference can be deadly.
On Tuesday, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse revealed more than 650 Canadians died from fentanyl-related overdoses between 2009 and 2014.
Hampton said he’s hopeful sharing his son’s story could make a difference to another family.
“If even one family has this conversation and a kid decides no, I’m not going to take that pill, that’s good, right?”
With files from CTV Calgary, CTV Vancouver and CTVNews.ca