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My son saved my life but I couldn't save him from fentanyl, Prince George mom says

Grieving mother, Pat Roderick, talks about losing her son, James, to accidental overdose in Prince George.
Fentanyl is the main reason why overdose deaths have risen so dramatically during the past few years. The cheap, but powerful drug is often added to cocaine and heroin, often without the user's knowledge.

Pat Roderick lost her son James last summer. 

“I’ve been so upset it took me months to write his obituary because it’s still so hard to believe,” Roderick said. “People think overdoses are suicide but they’re really getting killed by fentanyl.”

James, who died August 1, 2022, worked on the oil rigs and came home on weekends.

“Jamie worked hard during the week and partied hard on the weekends,” Roderick said. “My doctor keeps telling me ‘people take drugs to get high, not to die’. People think all drug users are junkies but that wasn’t Jamie. He just liked to party.”

Roderick said Jamie, who was 40 years old when he died, had a good job and considered his boss his brother, he had family, friends, a house and was a kind and fun-loving person.

When Roderick was diagnosed with Leukemia on Dec. 1, 2019, Jamie donated his compatible stem cells on June 10, 2020. The procedure put Roderick's cancer into remission.

“After the procedure, Jamie told me to tell my doctor that if he could help someone else by donating again he would,” Roderick said. “That’s the kind of person he was.”

Jamie loved his children and spent time with them when he wasn’t working, Roderick said. He always attended every special occasion and took them to special events in Prince George.

Fentanyl should not be part of the equation, Roderick said. Dying should not be the risk drug users have to take.

“I had my son for 40 years, I often think of the mothers who have lost their teenage children and my heart breaks for them,” Roderick said. “I was lucky to have Jamie around for 40 years. I can’t imagine losing him as a teen.”

And Roderick carries guilt with losing her son to an overdose.

“And please tell people’s family members that it’s not their fault,” Roderick said. “You keep thinking, I should’ve watched out for this, I should’ve watched out for that but you can’t watch out for fentanyl.”