We have a lot of work to do and a lot of love to spread

By: Annie Charles

My name is Annie and I am Cree from La Ronge in Northern Saskatchewan. I left there when was 8 because I was sick with Tuberculosis and I had been transferred to a hospital in the city of Saskatoon.
I didn’t see my family for 4 years and then only sporadically for the rest of my mother and grandparents’ lives, that still hurts.


In the years since I have moved around a lot, attended college in Edmonton, worked in radio, worked as an actress for a few years, got married, had children, got divorced…all the things the rest of the world in my age group was doing including drinking and drugs. Which weren’t a huge problem until I got divorced.


Having said that I changed my mind – they are always a problem. Anyway I moved to Nanaimo so I could be closer to my children who were living in Campbell river at the time with their father. My problems with substance abuse got really bad after I had 6 family members pass away in one year as well as being newly divorced it was a very lonely and hurtful confusing time for me. In addition, I had quite a bit of money from my divorce settlement I was ripe for trouble.


For the next 15 years I tried every drug there was to be tried and nothing was taking away my pain.
I missed my children and cried for them and my empty arms every day and it was so hard for me to have them see me like that.

Annie Charles


Towards the end of being in the spin cycle I was having a drink with someone who was in the know about the supply which at that time was steadily going down and he said that “Annie you really should think of quitting because the stuff they are coming up with is bad and only getting worse, people are going to start dropping, you watch.” I thought he was just trying to get me to quit because everybody I knew was trying to stop my downward spiral.


But he was right so many people I know have passed I quit counting at 28 and that was 8 years ago….and the world has finally noticed. Thank-you world for noticing, now we have a lot of work to do and a lot of love to spread.

Photos by Annie Charles

About Canadian Drug Policy Coalition

Advocating for public health- and human rights-based drug policies grounded in evidence, social justice, and compassion. www.drugpolicy.ca