At the lowest point in his life, Jordan Yarmey had been convicted of manslaughter when someone had overdosed on the synthetic opioid fentanyl. The man that had passed away from overdosing was Szymon Kalich, and it was discovered that Yarmey had been the one that gave him the drug that caused his death. Now out of prison, Yarmey is teaching those in Edmonton about the dangers of opioids, turning his life around to help the community.
Yarmey had been the first person in Edmonton history to be charged with manslaughter for supplying a synthetic opioid to someone, but now finds himself sober after his time in prison. He’s helping to educate people, saying that he doesn’t want other people to “fall down the same path and make the same mistakes that I did. I don’t want that for anyone.”
To educate people, Yarmey takes part in exhibits that show what can happen with opioid use, and how it can quickly become addicting. Yarmey admitted that he had “no control” over his usage, not even knowing that he was taking fentanyl in the first place. “That’s what’s so scary about it,” Yarmey said. “The fact that I had no idea I was even using this stuff and I could have died at any time.”
It’s been multiple years of sobriety for Yarmey now, and his story is making many in Edmonton realize how quickly drug use can get out of hand if you’re not very careful. Using stories like his have the city hoping that there will be a form of empathy surrounding those that have struggled with addiction and relating to them. Michelle Jehn of Strathcona County has been working with Yarmey, saying that “It’s a new way of thinking of addiction for the community…It proposes that addiction is very much in our backyard. It is happening here.”
Yarmey wants Edmonton residents to know that drug usage can hurt those that are closest to you and cause you to lose friends. “I carry a lot of guilt and shame of my own actions in the past,” he said. “I see a lot of mistakes I made in my past and realize that’s not what I would have done, that’s not me. That’s not who I am today.”