Bruce Oake – a lifelong struggle

Sometimes it’s tough to make the right choices, but it can mean the difference between life and death.

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Bruce Oake - 1985 - 2011

“Bruce Oake was one of more than 36,000 people who died of a drug overdose in North America in 2011. His use of opioids, in particular, is part of an epidemic. One study on drug use among Ontario students found that in 2011 one in five teenage girls admitted to using an opioid painkiller without a prescription. Canadian sales of the most popular such painkiller, OxyContin, rose to more than $240-million in 2010 from $3-million in 1996.” (Bruce Dowbiggin, The Globe and Mail)

 

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Bruce’s father, Scott Oake, is the well-known host of the CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada. He’s also a father who has had to live through the heartache of his son’s drug addiction and subsequent death due to an overdose.

Journalist Bruce Dowbiggin interviewed them for this article in the Globe and Mail (April 30th 2012) about the family’s story of life with their son Bruce and his addiction. Scott and his wife Anne, and other son Darcy,  feel it's important to talk about what happened to Bruce. As a family, they want to make his life mean something.

“We never lose any sleep over what we might have done,” Scott says. “Would’ve, could’ve, should’ve. We did every possible thing we could to save him.” Scott acknowledges that there was a likely genetic contribution to Bruce’s addiction – “We don’t deny there has been an addiction problem in my family,” he says – but that in the end, his son could not be saved unless he wanted the help. “He wanted it to an extent,” Scott says, “and he wanted a better life, but he just couldn’t conquer [the addiction]”

Scott Oake’s other son Darcy Oake, a well-known illusionist, also did a memorial video for his brother Bruce as a testimonial – and as a way to announce his fundraiser to create an addiction facility in Winnipeg, held in 2011.

Three months after Bruce’s death, Scott Oake talks about Bruce’s death in the RCMP video called Canadian Champions.  His interview is a touching personal story told by a brave father.

Canadian Champions is an extremely well made video that’s aimed at inspiring teenagers to make the right choices in life.  It’s a great thing to watch with your own teenagers.