Julie Kelley sends a kiss to her late son Brad Lloyd during Overdose Awareness Day at the Kelowna sails Monday, Aug. 31. (Contributed)

Julie Kelley sends a kiss to her late son Brad Lloyd during Overdose Awareness Day at the Kelowna sails Monday, Aug. 31. (Contributed)

Grieving Okanagan mom raises overdose awareness

Son trusted his dealer, but didn’t know there was fentanyl in his cocaine

When Julie Kelley had done everything she could to help her son with his addiction, the only thing left was for her to beg him to be safe.

“I even said to Bradley, you really need to be careful. He said: ‘It’s OK mom, I know where I get my stuff from, he’s a good guy.’”

Bradley Lloyd, a W.L. Seaton grad, died on June 30, 2020, from recreational cocaine laced with a lethal dose of fentanyl.

The 37-year-old trusted his source, but as his mom says: “It wasn’t Bradley who was trusting, it was his addiction.”

He had just seen his two young daughters in Kelowna days earlier and was beaming with life just by being with them. But the children, his mom, his friends, even himself, didn’t know their time together would end so soon.

“Addiction is addiction. It’s a disease and they don’t set out to die on that day they just set out to get high,” said Kelley, who honoured her son at the Overdose Awareness Day, light up at the Kelowna sails Monday, Aug. 31.

International Overdose Awareness Day.
In memory of my dear son Bradley. You were kind, loving, generous and beautiful…

Posted by Julie Kelley on Monday, August 31, 2020

What she doesn’t understand is why drug dealers are killing off their customers by lacing fentanyl into drugs.

“It’s out there and it’s just taking so many young people’s lives,” said Kelley.

“Drugs aren’t like they used to be back in the day.”

And the statistics prove it, with overdose rates rising rapidly.

In June, 175 British Columbians died of overdoses, surpassing the previous May record of 170 deaths.

That brought the six-month total of deaths in 2020 to 728, compared to 543 during the same time period in 2019.

Seventy-two per cent of the deaths this year have involved street-level fentanyl, a powerful opioid.

READ MORE: Vernon overdoses spike among COVID-19 pandemic

The grief-stricken mother knows how hard it is for those suffering from addiction as well as their families.

“We tried, all of us: his friends, his brothers, his sister, his late father, my new husband but it was too strong,” she said of ‘the demon.’

All they were left to do is be there for him and show him, love.

“There’s a fine line because you don’t want to be codependent, but you don’t want to see them struggle because they’re your kid.”

They had watched him lose everything: his home, his wife, his children, even himself to the addiction.

“There is a way out, and I cannot even tell you the number of times that Bradley got clean and sober.

“Then something would happen, and he didn’t want to feel it so he would numb it with drugs or alcohol.”

She knows how hard it is to fight that addiction, so for those who fall victim, she just begs them to be safe.

“If you have to use, don’t use alone, get it tested.”

But really, the only way to be safe, is abstinence, said Kelley.

Because it only takes one bad batch to not only end a life but shatter so many more.

“The pain stops for them, but it certainly doesn’t stop for us.”

READ MORE: B.C. paramedics responded to a record-breaking 2,700 overdose calls in July


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

B.C. overdosesDrugsoverdose crisis

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Julie Kelley, with her son Bradley Lloyd, who died of an overdose on June 30, 2020, is raising overdose awareness. (Submitted Photo)

Julie Kelley, with her son Bradley Lloyd, who died of an overdose on June 30, 2020, is raising overdose awareness. (Submitted Photo)

Just Posted

grapes.
Morning Start: Grapes light on fire in the microwave

Your morning start for Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020

Grey Man recovering after having his leg amputated. AlleyCats, Facebook.
Cat allegedly shot by pellet gun in Oliver has leg amputated

Kelowna Veterinary Hospital performed an emergency surgery to remove the leg

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

This is the third year Raymond Imbeau and Barbara Kitz have picked up cans in the backcountry and donated the proceeds to COSAR. (Central Okanagan Search and Rescue)
Kelowna couple cleans forests for Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

Raymond Imbeau and Barbara Kitz donated $3,200 to COSAR

Lights will be on display for the annual Candy Cane Lane in Rutland until Jan. 1. - Mackenzie Britton/Capital News
Kelowna’s Candy Cane Lane to celebrate a decade of holiday lights

The event will run from Dec. 1 to Jan. 1, 2021

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

RCMP are offering some helpful ways to send the Grinch home empty handed this holiday season. (Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP)
‘Tis the season to protect your packages: North Okanagan RCMP

Send the Grinch home empty handed this Christmas season

Cranbrook business and property owners are encouraged to flush their water lines ahead of reopening. All it takes is running the cold water tap for several minutes. (Cranbrook Townsman file)
UPDATE: Water advisory issued on Westside

Westshore Estates leak repair causes need to flush system

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Paramedics register patients at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadians not worried other countries will get COVID-19 vaccine first: poll

Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Join Rob Dinwoodie and bandmates for a Cowboy Christmas, Dec. 11 and 12 at Vernon and District Performing Arts Center. Seating is cabaret style on the stage for an intimate concert. (Contributed)
North Okanagan cowboys go virtual for Christmas

Cowboy Christmas streamed Dec. 11-25

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vernon is getting in the Christmas spirit with many homes decorating with lights and extras. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)
Christmas lights tour mapped out by Vernon Realtor

More than 20 of the community’s best-lit houses make up annual tradition

Most Read