BANGKOK – Alexandra Sheichuk’s journey to exorcise the demons of drug addiction brought her 12,000 kilometers from her Canadian home to a Thailand monastery renowned for its uncompromising detox program.
For the past year, the 23-year-old lived a cloistered existence in the Thamkrabok Monastery just north of Bangkok, undergoing intense daily rituals alongside Buddhist monks to escape the grip of opioids that had plagued her since she was a teenager growing up in the southwest community of Woodbine.
Sheichuk’s body was found in Laos, which shares a border with Thailand on December 8th, Sources told Postmedia she died of a medical condition.
Sheichuk battled drug abuse since she was 12, and spiraled into an addiction to opioids — including OxyContin pills cut with potentially deadly fentanyl — a few years later.
The treatment facility prescribes no drugs to help kick the habit, instead relying on a more spiritual approach through self-reliance and discipline, which Sheichuk said finally gave her some freedom from her addiction.
A Go Fund Me campaign launched by her elder sister aimed to raise funds to return her body home, as well as for funeral costs.
“Parents should never bury their children. What makes it even more difficult, is inability to cry over the body of her daughter, because it happened in a different country,” the online post read.
“We are asking all the community members, friends and everyone with compassion at heart, to help and bring the child home to Canada into her mother’s arms.”
According to the post, which offered no details as to the nature of her death, Sheichuk was beloved by her family and passionate about animals.
“Alexandra was a loving daughter, sister, aunt. She had a big heart,” it read.
Global Affairs Canada confirmed that a Canadian citizen had died in Laos, and added they are offering support to family members. Postmedia has confirmed the citizen was Sheichuk.
“Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of a Canadian citizen who died in Laos,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Consular officials are providing assistance to the family during this difficult time and are in contact with local authorities. Due to the provisions under the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed.”
By Shawn Logan