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Scott Oake speaks at Thorpe Recovery Centre

The Thorpe Recovery Centre played host to a hockey celebrity over the weekend.

Hockey Night in Canada’s Scott Oake was in town to give a talk at the centre’s 40th Anniversary luncheon on Saturday, September 19, about his son Bruce’s death from a drug overdose.

Oake says his story is one that connects with many people in the audience.

“It’s a very uncomfortable story, but we hold nothing back, because we feel it’s important for people to know what can happen when a family member is profoundly addicted,” Oake said. “When we’re done, we generally hear from a lot of people ‘it’s in my family too,’ and I guess the one message that we try to deliver is ‘if this can happen to us it can happen to anybody.’ We don’t have to shake somebody’s family tree too hard to get an addict or an alcoholic to fall out.”

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Oake says the struggle with addictions has ballooned fairly recently .

“It’s the scourge of our son’s generation,” Oake said. “It’s claiming lives now. It’s not like when [Board member] Brant [Wheeler] and I and [my wife] Anne were kids. You might have got someone to buy a six-pack of beer or something before you were of legal drinking age. And if someone was really dangerous, they might have had some weed on them… Now you can go into almost any school in metropolitan areas and get whatever drug you want by recess. The proliferation of street drugs is a huge problem, and as a result of that, addiction is never going to go away.”

Oake also says that addiction is a disease, and that people should be open about their battle with it.

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