Berwick mother on son's dark road

Nancy Kelly
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Harlan Dorey: “he was a worthy human being.” File


Kings County Advertiser/Register

A grieving mother shared the pain of losing her son to his addictions, driving home the immediate need for improved support and treatment services for addicts.

After years spent fighting addictions to alcohol and drugs, Harlan Dorey of Berwick gave into despair and took his own life February 15. He was just 27 years old.

“Harlan’s dad died 14 years ago. He never got over his dad’s death. He coped by drinking and also picked up drugs,” said his mother, Linda Dorey. 

“He didn’t see the good in life.”

All that changed in April 2010, when Harlan admitted he needed help.

“He was sick of the life he was living. He wanted help.”

Getting that help presented one challenge after another. 

“We reached out together to get help,” but the family’s financial burdens put private treatment options out of reach, explained Linda. Harlan entered local detox programs, but never received one-on-one counseling that could have improved his chances of kicking his addictions. After finally receiving a referral for a 21-day treatment program, he learned in January he would require more outpatient counseling before getting a space in the program.

“He was devastated.”

In desperation, Harlan tried to get methadone treatment from the Mud Creek Clinic in Wolfville.

“He was turned away when he went there. He was told there was a two-month waiting list,” for the treatment, said Linda.

From that point on, her son fell into a deep depression.

“He kept slipping further and further away,” said Linda through tears. 

“When I saw him Feb. 15 for the last time, he told me ‘I can’t fight anymore’.”

I don’t blame anyone for his choices. He had his struggles, but he was a worthy human being. Linda Dorey

When she came home from work later that day, Linda found her son hanging from the ceiling light in his room.

Harlan’s death brought an end to “the dark, dark, long road” her son had been on for many years.

“I don’t blame anyone for his choices. He had his struggles, but he was a worthy human being.”

Acknowledging “we have a crisis on our hands,” Linda is pleading for the community to “pull together and demand our government do something to help addicts.

“And, if one life can be saved, then I’ll say it was in honour of my son, Harlan Dorey.”


Geographic location: Wolfville

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