A family is calling for more resources to prevent unnecessary deaths in the community due to toxic drug poisoning.
“Something needs to be done,” said Stormy Narcisse, who chose to speak out, despite the difficulty in recounting what her family has gone through in recent weeks.
“There needs to be something out there to get our young ones help, even though they say no, they need a place for them to go.”
Stormy Narcisse is living through a mother’s worst nightmare, as she had to make the hard decision to remove her son, Jordan Williams, 30, from life support earlier this month.
“The hardest thing is for a mother to have to make a choice,” said Narcisse, who ended up in emergency herself, when stress caused what they thought might be a heart attack. She had lost her mom only a month earlier, and her son’s godmother passed away only a few days before her son.
On the morning of Nov. 8, 2022, Jordan Williams was found unresponsive in downtown Williams Lake. He was given CPR until paramedics arrived and was taken to hospital and put on life support.
Williams was sent to Kamloops, where he was assessed further and his family waited by his side. Doctors did not believe his brain was functioning well, family recalled.
When the doctors took him off sedation, he went into seizures.
Narcisse made the difficult choice to remove her son from life support and the tubes were removed on Nov. 16. She stayed with him through the night, and in the morning he was gone.
Jordan Williams was pronounced dead on the morning of Nov. 17. His family said the toxicology report found methamphetamine and fentanyl in his system.
“Everyone needs to know where the pain is, is with the family,” said Narcisse of their desire to help educate people about the fallout of deaths due to toxic drugs.
He left behind two brothers, two sisters and a large group of extended family and friends, many he called sister and brother.
“Jordan was an outgoing, kindhearted, respectful, young guy,” described Narcisse, of her son.
But she said drugs had changed him.
He struggled in the past and had gone to Smithers this summer, where she believed he had been living out of a tent for months with his partner.
She said Williams had hoped to attend treatment, but the waitlist was long in the area and it was hard for him and his partner to be able to attend together, which was their hope.
He and his partner came back from Smithers to stay with Narcisse in Riske Creek, having returned saying he wanted to go to Gateway Stabilization Unit, and attend Renner House, a short-stay substance withdrawal program in Williams Lake.
But when he returned, he was pale, thin, paranoid and could not sit still.
“It wasn’t him,” said Narcisse.
“They weren’t normal, they were up all night long, running around outside. They had stories that didn’t make sense. They’d leave all the lights on in the house,” recalled Narcisse, who struggled to manage them while working.
Only three days before his fatal overdose, Jordan Williams had been administered naloxone after a toxic drug poisoning, said his family, and he was brought to a “situation table” to try and connect him with support.
She wants to see less hurdles and paperwork and no wait times to get people the help they need.
“Jordan, he grew up in a good home, and it doesn’t matter what kind of home you grow up in,” said his aunt Violet Fuller, noting the struggles going on around a person or maybe the wrong people can draw them in.
“He had a loving home,” she said.
Jordan Williams service was held on Nov. 25 at Tl’esqox Community Hall. Friends, family and community members had also gathered in Spirit Square on Nov. 16 in Williams Lake, near where Williams was found, to drum, pray and sing at a candlelight vigil.
So far this year, paramedics reported attending 143 drug poisonings in Williams Lake. In all of 2021 they responded to a total of 117. Quesnel paramedics reported responding to 157 drug poisonings in 2021. Williams Lake RCMP also reported responding to a “sharp increase” in medical calls this year.
The BC Coroner’s Service reported 10 deaths in 2021 in Williams Lake due to toxic drugs, and 15 from January to September so far in 2022, while in Quesnel there were 11 deaths in 2021 and four so far in 2022.