It was an eye opening experience for six members of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, who got a first hand look at life on Vancouver’s Downtown East Side.
The players went as a part of the “Odd Squad” program on Nov. 6, meeting locals fighting drug addiction and taking their stories back to Kelowna high schools.
Rockets’ Captain Rod Southam says he learned that anyone’s life can spiral out of control.
“I know personally, I met two people there from my hometown back in Saskatchewan, back in Saskatoon. It’s just weird thinking like these people went to my school a couple of years before me, and just seeing how one kind of bad decision can change your path,” he said.
Listen to the full interview
Southam says he gained a new appreciation of how powerfully drugs can control someone’s life, and is looking forward to sharing the message.
“Almost everyone we talked to, it started out at a very young age.”
He also says that many people they spoke to wanted to share their path, and offer a warning.
“Whatever it is that you are on is your first priority. They still all care for their families, they still all think about them, but it’s just this can take over your life and control you.”
Southam says the emotional experience, which included watching some addicts shoot up, left a mark on the group.