Former doctor, fentanyl addict shares story to help others
Published Wednesday, February 28, 2018 3:43PM EST
Now released from prison, a former doctor and recovering fentanyl addict is trying to help others who are going down the same road he went down.
Darryl Gebien often visits The Vitanova Foundation rehab centre in Woodbridge to share the story of how he fell from grace.
“A person does not need a bottom to get help,” he says. “By me sharing my feelings again helps other people and myself.”
After losing his family and his job as an emergency room doctor at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre to a fentanyl addiction he is slowly piecing his life back together.
“I lost my word. People didn't trust me. I lied and deceived people. But if I start speaking my words and use my words carefully and being honest, no one can take that away from me,” he says.
“That's how I started building my foundation to sobriety.”
In 2014, Gebien went from using Percocet to fentanyl abuse for chronic back pain. In the six months that followed, he illegally forged prescriptions for hundreds of patches.
“My wife and I were arguing like crazy. It just was an ugly time in my life where things just completely spiraled out of control.”
In January 2015 his secret was exposed. Police were tipped off about forged prescriptions.
“Looked out the window and could just see like a bee hive of activity of police officers scattered across my lawn. The investigator introduced himself and he said words I'll never forget. He said, ‘Darryl, your life is going to change after this day.’”
His wife took the kids and left. Three co-workers lost their jobs because of him. Gebien avoided a trial by pleading guilty to trafficking fentanyl and forgery. He was sentenced to two years in prison.
“I wanted to plead guilty because I was guilty and I needed to move on with my life. I needed to make amends with people I hurt.”
Gebien served his time at Joyceville Institution in Kingston. He kept to himself, stayed out of trouble and within two months he was moved to a minimum security section of the prison.
He taught reading, writing and math to other inmates, and even wrote music.
Gebien was paroled after serving eight months of his 24 month sentence. Then there's three years of probation.
“The opioid crisis is not going anywhere and it's not just the opioid crisis. The crisis is mental health issues. It's addictions, substance abuse.”
Gebien says he plans to speak to anyone who wants to listen.
He says he hopes to hear by the end of the year if his medical licence will be reinstated.