Intelligent, funny teen will be missed

By Balzafire · Jul 24, 2010 · Updated Jul 25, 2010 · ·
  1. Balzafire
    Remembered : 16-year-old Zack MacQueen’s promising life was cut short after snorting methadone at a party

    The next time you see a bolt of lightning, remember Zack MacQueen.

    That’s what many across the city — and particularly in Old South — will do as they cling to memories of the 16-year-old boy who sometimes jokingly called himself Lightning MacQueen and who died suddenly last week after a night of partying.

    The teen’s parents wait for police or a coroner to confirm what they know — that their son died after snorting a powdered, prescription drug, methadone.

    In the days after his drug overdose, nearly 1,000 people joined a Facebook page set up in Zack’s memory, filling it with memories and general warnings against snorting methadone.

    He didn’t know it was methadone, said several friends. Someone brought it to the party. He thought it was crystal meth, say some. He thought it was Percocet, say others.

    It doesn’t matter, they insist. All that matters is Zack is gone.

    On the page, one friend recalled Zack’s devastation on seeing a dog hit by a passing car, and recalled him sitting with the dog until its owner came looking for it.

    Others wondered if he was responsible for the bolts of lightning seen over London since his death.

    “He loved lightning,” said his mom, Colleen Morton. “Called himself Lightning MacQueen. He loved purple, he loved camping, smores. He was a clean freak.”

    Clinging to whatever she can remember, Morton said she still has an old Mother’s Day card he gave her as a boy. It was filled with promises, and all of them involved cleaning.

    “I don’t remember him crying, ever,” she said. “Does that make me a bad mom? I don’t know, I guess it does.”

    She hasn’t stopped crying during a two hour interview.

    Zack was smart. In and out of trouble since he was young, he won the Grade 8 math award at Princess Elizabeth public school, despite three suspensions that year.

    He went to South secondary school for Grade 9, but ended up suspended and at the school board’s U-Turn alternative education program before starting fresh at H.B. Beal last year. Within a few weeks, despite absences, he was excelling in academic math, she said.

    “He could have been anything. A doctor, a lawyer, an astronaut. ... He could have invented things. I don’t know, maybe this was his purpose in life,” said Morton.

    Zack was closest with his dad, Gary MacQueen. The elder MacQueen told The Free Press he wanted to talk about his son, but wasn’t ready yet.

    “His dad’s not doing so well whatsoever,” said his on-and-off girlfriend of four years, Alicia Coaker.

    Coaker still had Zack’s skateboard this week. He rode it over to her house the last time they hung out.

    “He was good at skateboarding. He was really gifted at a lot of things,” she said. “Literally, he was the strongest, most positive person I knew and he did get suspended and stuff, but really he was polite and very respectful and he was just an amazing guy.

    “Everybody loved him,” she said, laughing for an instant as she recalled their first meeting. They were with a group of friends, going to watch Shrek 2 at the theatre.

    “Right away, he started telling jokes. That’s who he was,” she said. “He’d tell you a joke, or do anything to make you smile in some way, and then you would just love him.”

    There is a lot of pain and guilt among those who love Zack. Many contacted through Facebook wouldn’t comment, afraid whoever brought the methadone to the party is racked with guilt.

    Nobody wants to blame anybody for Zack’s death. Boys said to be his closest friends didn’t want to talk, but others did.

    “Man that kid could make me laugh,” said Steph Lefave, 22, in a Facebook conversation. “Although I did not have the privilege of knowing Zack as long as I would have liked, I will tell you ... he did not judge. He did not boast, he didn’t hold grudges.”

    His mom is gutted by regret.

    “I regret letting him go to his friends so much on the weekends, thinking I had the rest of his life.

    “I never pushed those issues. I wanted to let him be a teenager. Maybe if I had put a tighter chain on him.”

    She clings to the memory of their final conversation.

    “He always said ‘I love you’ and I know my last words to him were ‘I love you,’ and his were ‘I love you, mom.’ ”

    The family is planning a public memorial party for Zack next Wednesday night at Rouge nightclub.

    By Jennifer O’Brien The London Free Press

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  1. imyourlittlebare
    Jesus Christ. Methadone can be so live saving for people yet so many people disrespect the drug and die. SWIM wishes there was some ad campaign where it would advertise that methadone, while being a narcotic, is not something that will get one high. Part of the drug's usefulness is the fact that tolerance is gained very quickly to its effects (Meyer & Quenzer, 2005). That being said, these children find that they lost that effect and assume that they can take more of it to get high. Since there uneducated on the subject and assume more will get that feeling back, they die because of the severe nature of the drug. Teenagers need to hear from someone that while methadone might get them high once or twice that the drug is absolutely deadly and useless in their quest to get high.

    Sorry, things like this touch a nerve. SWIM wishes there was more tolerance for opiate addiction treatments, more understanding, and more ease for those trying to adapt back to sober living. These kids killing themselves with the drug not only hurt their families but make it harder for those people who need treatment to get it out of fear.
  2. Spucky
    AW: Intelligent, funny teen will be missed

    I agree with the Poster above but need to say "but"!

    There are by far toooo many People dieing, Babies from stupid Parents,
    Kids like this one and Adults+ some Drug-abuser!

    It can't be that a Medication that should help sick Patients kill so many other People,
    the "Gao-Report"(see on the Buttom)
    said that ca. 25% of lethal Morphine-Type OD's are by Opioid-Naive Humans
    who used Methadone,
    this is by far to much!

    Another source said (the CDC-Report):
    Until we can produce a safer Methadone-Pill/ Substitute Medication
    or even the real Stuff like Heroin/ Diaphin with a safe Galenics we need a harder Surveillance
    and maybe should reduce the Take-Homes Doses to a absolute Minimum!
  3. imyourlittlebare
    See, minimizing the amount a person could take home hurts the people who are in chronic pain and arent breaking the law by diverting their narcotics/illegally purchasing and using narcotics. And as far as methadone and fentanyl go, those medications are just too strong. Even minimizing the amount someone takes home prob wouldnt have an effect since so little of each is deadly.
  4. missparkles
    If methadone (which the authorities promised would never be allowed to reach the general public when it was first proposed as a treatment for addicts) can be taken to a party, I fear for the safety of the public now that diamorphine is proposed as an addiction treatment. How long before some young person will get their hands on a amp or two, and end up ODing?

  5. imyourlittlebare
    I dont think the methadone these kids are getting is from addiction clinics I would bet its doctor prescribed for chronic pain and it was either stolen or whatever. I dont know what the specifics are for heroin treatments of heroin addiction but maybe you do? Does the therapy call for a patient to be administered the dose at a pharmacy/clinic?
  6. Spucky
    AW: Re: Intelligent, funny teen will be missed

    I don't mind to hurting them when it can safe Life :)

    Imo. People who are in a Palliative Treatment should be visited by a PhD.
    every time they want/ need a new Prescription.

    To give out a Medication, for a Month or even a 3 Month Period,
    that produce by his own Nature Addiction (lost of Control) is a Crime

    And the People who are in a MMT. need to show up at least twice a Week in the Treatment-Center!
  7. imyourlittlebare
    Its hard enough for people in chronic pain to get doctors who give a damn and arent scared. Pain doctors are treated like colombian drug lords and in turn those in pain suffer.

    I dont know, like I said. The medications that kill the most are really strong. All a kid needs is a few drinks in em and then the methadone will kill them. Possibly even if they take only a single dose.
  8. missparkles
    Lots of people in Sparkles own location sell their take homes and buy heroin, so it does go on. Most people who use methadone for palliative care are at the end of their life with terminal illness, the people with chronic pain need to be better supervised. Docs should be checking if their condition has changed, not just handing this drug out (or any opiate) just cos a patient says they still need it. Sparkles is on strong pain meds and she'd be happy to take a random, once a week piss test, just to prove she actually using her meds.

  9. Spucky
    AW: Re: Intelligent, funny teen will be missed

    Don't get me wrong here, every Human have the right to be free of Pain
    (the biggest Gift in the World is to be free of Pain- by Epikur)

    There are many ways to reduce the harm,
    there are many possibilities to make a Opioid-Medicine more safe,
    everything is the matter of Money!

    No one need to die because of ie. Methadone, Hydromorphone, Fentanyl or Oxycodone!
  10. missparkles
    I'm in complete agreement with everything that's been said, it's just a tragedy that due to so many different factors, a young man had to lose his life, isn't it?

  11. godztear
    I would have to say that this is a case of Natural Selection, at it's finest.

    Yes, it is sad that this boy was given these drugs, that he wanted in order to get high, that killed him. Can't save them all, but we damn sure can try. I know I wouldn't let anyone I know try anything along the lines of what this ghost was attempting.

    16 and looking for crystal meth and instead did some methadone? No wonder he is dead.
  12. coolhandluke
    WHOOA dude, swim was doing all sorts of drugs when he was younger, and doesn't want to feel like there is further ignorance and discrimination about his addiction on here. society in general would be better off if swim was dead is what swiy just said to him , based EXACTLY on what swiy just posted, so just kinda wanna throw that out there, swims trying hard not to lose his temper.

    anyway it also pisses swim off about how methadone is not respected by some drug users. he knew a guy who sold a 40 mg wafer, a while back, and didn't say only take a quarter, the guy took the whole thing and luckily was only sick as fuck for like 2 days. another time a buddy and his gf were did some methadone, then tons of oxycodone, they were splitting 80's all night swim was there (they were camping so no one really knew how much they did), she died. not exactly sure why people think that the stuff they use to get heroin addicts off heroin, doesn't sound like something that deserves caution especially for opiate naive users.
  13. coolhandluke

    for all anyone knows this kid got fake shit and overdosed on booze. swim does feel sorry for the family but there are things more important than their son dying. look at the shit storm mephadrone got, until it got banned, not they have all kinds of weird RC's that have replaced it which are possibly more harmful.
  14. southern girl
    Okay that was a little harsh. I am a parent and I have brother the same age as that boy. I can not even begin to imagine what his family and friends and going through. A statement like that could be really hurtful. Im sure SWIY did not mean to offend anyone. I mean, my childhood friend was beaten to death by her boyfriend that was strung out on crystal meth about a month ago. A 4yr old boy was left without parents. To say there are more important things is disrespectful to her and her family and friends. That event took 2 lives that day, hers and her sons.

    I guess once you experience the loss of someone close you will see how that can be taken the wrong way. I dont want to start an argument or anything, I just thought that was a little harsh. To that family, this is the most important and devastating day in their life. And that poor kid is gone too soon. My heart goes out to them. This type of thing should never happen.
  15. Micklemouse
    Oh boy, & we wonder why the drug world has a bad name! While I appreciate where this is coming from, could you have put it any more unsensitively?

    What annoys me most about stories like this, other than the heart-stoppingly bad journalism, is that they are published before the coroners report & are often not fully followed up, or if they are it'll be a small paragraph tucked away in an obscure part of the paper. Papers & journo's should be obliged to follow up with a story at least as visible as the original when the coroners report is published, & prior to that make it absolutely clear that cause of death is unclear, which they have in this case, but in the mephedrone cases they did not.

    Btw, this story is from Canada, not the UK...
  16. coolhandluke
    swim kind of figured the parents didn't sound like they would be on here. he was simply stating that there are many things more important and any single person society wise. journalism directly affects the voters, that effects what gets passed into law. imo my own life or my moms life is not more important than having our legislation accurately represent how the world really is. swim agrees he could have been less blunt about it, he should have elaborated a bit more. he really does feel bad for the family, but if methadone were outlawed, or even made harder to get, that would directly kill a lot more people than their son. swim would roll in his grave if he overdosed, and drugs were slandered for it. anyone can tell swiy that mystery pills are not good, just a couple months ago swim was given a pill he was told was good for sleep. it was cut in half and he couldn't get the imprints off of it to look it up, so what did he do, threw it away. no fucking way swim will take anything if he doesn't know what it is.

    swim saw the thing about the lightning bolts over london statement and assumed it was from the uk
  17. missparkles
    The government and the media have contributed to this young mans death, it's not just about drugs, no way. However, one life is always so important, cos you just never know just what effect this man might have had on others, if he'd have lived. Who knows, he may have fathered the very first politician who was prepared to look at the present laws on drugs, and begin to change them? You just never know, do you?

    So one life is always important.

  18. Balzafire
    Thanks for pointing this out. It has been changed.
  19. Cold Assassin
    Eminem was taking about 16 methadone pills every day, and lived. He said it was bad for his health, but he did it for a while and never died. How can snorting a little kill you?
  20. Spucky
    AW: Re: Intelligent, funny teen will be missed

    Opiates and Opioids build up a Tolerance, the same way like ie. Alcohol!
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