Zach Plett with his (from left) older sister Callie, mom Maggie and younger sister Cassie, taken at his grandfather’s 95th birthday party, just over a year before Zach died. (Contributed photo).

OUR VIEW: Time to stamp out Surrey flop houses

Authorities need to strike cold fear into the hearts of bad-actor rehabs that fail people they purport to help

“My son would’ve been better off homeless,” says Maggie Plett, whose son Zach died face-down in bed, of a fentanyl overdose of all things, in a rehab where he’d sought hope, recovery and a new beginning.

Can there be any more damning indictment of such a place than this grieving mother’s words?

Plett said her son’s body lay there for hours before his death was discovered, on a bed with mouldy sheets. When she went to pick up his effects, she said, a roommate was wearing her dead son’s shoes.

For three decades – three decades – we’ve been writing stories about local recovery houses that fall far short of their billing, since our report entitled “Rehab Rampant,” was published in the early 1990s.

We have since been through Liberal and NDP provincial governments, several city councils, and other significant changes of the guard. And yet, in the year 2019, there is this tragic story of a young man who died while wrestling with his demons in wretched surroundings.

READ ALSO: Grieving mom says son who died in Surrey recovery house ‘would’ve been better off homeless’

Two days before he died, Plett said, her son had left another rehab house with six bedrooms, 18 men and two washrooms (one out of order). He was shown the door, his mom said, for complaining about the living conditions there.

It must be noted that there are regulated facilities in Surrey that do a fine job of helping vulnerable men and women on their journey to recovery. And five years ago, the city closed more than 100 unregulated rehab houses within seven months.

Today, bylaws continues to investigate recovery houses in what appears to be a tidal campaign of attrition.

So, the will is there.

That said, it’s past time – well beyond past time – that authorities strike cold fear into the hearts of bad-actor rehabs that fail people they are purporting to help.

Examples must be made. And they must be swift and harsh, before another mother whose child is seeking help to defeat his or her addiction tells us – like Plett told reporter Tracy Holmes – “I wouldn’t let a dead animal rot in that place.”

Now-Leader



edit@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Why school portables are a ‘way of life’ in Surrey

THIRD IN A SERIES: A look at concerns surrounding Surrey’s 300-plus portables

White Rock’s Mueller wins World Series of Poker bracelet

Third career WSOP win for former professional hockey player

ZYTARUK: Canal isn’t Surrey’s first ‘different’ idea

Anyone up for waterskiing in Doug’s Ditch?

MINTY: It’s time to save Surrey Little Theatre before it’s squeezed out of Clayton

At the theatre on 184th Street, DebuTheatre will showcase two one-act plays in July

Surrey man charged in two Guildford bank robberies

David Yaroslawsky, 37, is charged with two counts of robbery and remains in custody

VIDEO: Sexting teens at risk of depression and substance abuse, Canadian study says

Use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana were also found to be associated with sexting

VIDEO: Toronto Raptors announcer credited with calming crowds after shooting

Matt Devlin, the Raptors’ play-by-play announcer since 2008, was praised for preventing panic from spreading

Mini-horse visits residents at Lower Mainland care home

Gunner turned a visit with grandpa into a major event for everyone at the residence

Women sue former Vancouver cop over alleged sexual abuse during pimp case

Two women claim James Fisher caused psychological trauma during the Reza Moazami investigation

First ever Indigenous person to join the RCMP to be honoured in B.C.

Hawk Kelly said becoming a Mountie was his dream job as a kid

Vancouver Canucks playing pre-season game in Abbotsford

Canucks hosting Ottawa Senators on Monday, Sept. 23

Mini pinscher at Maple Ridge SPCA needs spinal surgery

Bane has a painful condition known as Wobbler Syndrome

Deadline for cabinet to decide future of Trans Mountain expansion is today

International Trade Minister Jim Carr described the decision as ‘very significant’

Mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of B.C. inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Most Read