This entire family died of suspected overdoses. Those left say parents with addictions need more support – CBC

In a 6-month span, a 16-month-old baby and both her parents died of suspected drug toxicity

Sep 12, 2023

Anne Doig looks at three smiling faces on the funeral handouts in her lap — one much younger than the others.

A toddler in a Christmas onesie sits on a bed, propped up by pillows. The words “Madison Lily Cowan. August 6, 2021 — January 1, 2023” are printed in pink letters.

Madison’s parents, John Cowan and Berkeley Donkervoort, both 38, died months after their only child.

All three are suspected to have died of toxic drug poisoning, also called an overdose.

From the moment Madison was born, Doig worried the girl would struggle, given her parents’ addictions.

“It’s a dreadful thing to think, but absent of a very powerful intervention sustained over a long period of time, that little girl’s hope of anything resembling a normal life was fraught,” she said.

Doig and other family members want to see better support for parents living with addictions, and better protections for their children.

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