Episode 103: Ken Daniels, Substance Abuse Support
On this episode, Karen speaks with Ken Daniels, play-by-play announcer for the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and father of Jamie Daniels who, on December 7, 2016 at the age of 23, lost his battle with Substance Use Disorder. Ken is here to share the story of his son’s life and the legacy created in his memory, the Jamie Daniels Foundation.
Ken Daniels Bio
On September 6, 1997, Ken Daniels achieved his lifetime goal becoming the TV Play-by-Play voice of a National Hockey League team, hired by the Detroit Red Wings to be their lead hockey announcer on Fox Sports Detroit, now Bally Sports Detroit.
Ken has been rewarded for his efforts on many occasions. In 2002, he was named by readers of the Detroit Free Press as best Play-by-Play announcer. In 2006, he won his first Michigan Emmy award for excellence in television play-by-play. In 2003 and 2010, Ken was named Michigan Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Also in 2010, Ken received the Detroit Sports Media’s ‘Ty Tyson Award’ for excellence in Sports Broadcasting. In the spring of 2013 Ken was named “Top Sportscaster in Michigan” in a Detroit Free Press poll.
Having grown up in Toronto, Ken knew the sports scene well and by 1985 was working simultaneously in radio and television. In 1989, while working at CJCL Radio, Ken added Toronto Maple Leafs’ Play-by-Play to his resume. Two years later, Ken received his first hosting assignment on Hockey Night in Canada on CBC Television, working the opening game of the 1990 Stanley Cup Playoffs – complete with a slot on the hot seat sparring with Don Cherry during “Coach’s Corner”. Ken moved from host to Play-by-Play voice on Hockey Night in Canada in 1994, until his departure to Detroit.
Hockey has not been Ken’s only national forum. Starting in 1986, Ken sat in the host’s chair of CBC Sports Weekend and led the networks’ coverage of the Indy-Car World Series, Formula One Grand Prix racing and Blue Jays’ baseball on CBC during the Jays’ World Series Championship years of 1992 and 1993. Ken has also been a lead announcer on golf coverage for the Golf Channel in Canada.
Ken also had the privilege of working two Olympic Games for CBC Television. In 1996 in Atlanta, Ken was the Play-by-Play voice of cycling and baseball. Ken was also an integral part of CBC Sports’ award-winning coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea as Play-by-Play voice for such diverse sports as canoeing, kayaking, cycling, tennis and judo.
Ken’s Olympic experience even landed him in a movie, appearing as the Olympic host in the NBC Movie of the Week “On Thin Ice – The Tai Babilonia Story”. Ken also appeared in a film with Tony Danza –“the Philadelphia Phenomenon”, and had been a regular Play-by-Play announcer for the CBS/CTV television program “Due South”.
When Ken was not covering hockey, the Olympics, auto racing, golf, or acting in the movies, he was the voice of morning sports for 8 years on Canada’s first all-sports radio station, THE FAN 590 in Toronto.
In addition to his Red Wings’ Play-by-Play duties, Ken began calling National Hockey games for NBCSN in 2011, and College Hockey since 1997.
When Mickey Redmond and Ken Daniels return for the 2021-22 season it will mark their 25th campaign in tandem. No current TV duo in the NHL, has been together longer than Ken and Mick on Bally Sports Detroit.
In 2017, Ken Daniels became an author, telling his life and broadcasting story in “If These Walls Could Talk - Detroit Red Wings.”
Ken’s son Jamie had often joked, that dad needed a “summer job.” Unfortunately he gave him one.
Ken is co-founder of the Jamie Daniels Foundation, (jamiedanielsfoundation.org), dedicated to ending the shame and stigma that surrounds drug addiction, and building a long-term safe sober living home in Oakland County, Michigan..
Ken is working in tandem with ‘The Children’s Foundation’, in his awareness efforts.
Jamie passed away in Florida at the age of 23, on December 7, 2016. The family, including Jamie’s sister Arlyn contends,” it’s not the years in the life, but the life in the years.”
Intro Voices 00:04
Where do I go? It only happened once. I think I was singled out. The phone calls began about one month ago. What is hazing? Something happened to me when I was younger. I'm worried about my safety. He said he was sorry. Can someone help me? Where can I get help? Can someone help me? This is You Matter, a podcast for the NYU community developed by the Department of Campus Safety.
Karen Ortman 00:35
Hi, everyone, and welcome back to You Matter, a podcast created to teach, inspire and motivate members of the NYU community who have been victimized in some form or fashion and to identify resources both on and off campus that can help. I am your host Karen Ortman, Associate Vice President of Campus Safety Operations at the Department of Campus Safety, and a retired law enforcement professional. Today I welcome Ken Daniels. play by play announcer for the NH ELLs Detroit Redwings and father of Jamie Daniels who on December 7 2016, at the age of 23, he lost his battle with substance use disorder. Ken is here to share the story of his son's life and the legacy created in his memory. The Jamie Daniels foundation. Ken, welcome to you, Mater.
Ken Daniels 01:32
Karen, thank you very nice to be with you wish were under different circumstances. But whenever I can talk about Jamie it keeps them alive in my mind. So nice to be with you.
Karen Ortman 01:41
My pleasure. And let me just start off by offering my sincerest condolences regarding a loss of your son.
Ken Daniels 01:49
Thank you for that. Thank you.
Karen Ortman 01:51
So tell me about Jamie. Tell me about Jamie as he was in life.
Ken Daniels 01:58
He was precocious. She was funny. He was loving. I know there was whenever he spoke to anyone and it didn't matter as as a teen or into his early 20s. He passed at age 23. He was talking to a friend on the phone and he'd say love you bye. And I'd hang up the phone. They'll say Who was that? Say it was Zach. Friend is a guy. You don't didn't buddy you didn't matter who it was could be a guy could be a girl didn't matter was always lobbied by.
Karen Ortman 02:23
That's fairly unusual. That's pretty cool.
Ken Daniels 02:26
Yeah and they'd see he was a loving kid could be a troublemaker, as precocious as funny. And that's why we've carried on which you'll get to later in the film named Celebrity Rose because my son love to laugh and his laugh was infectious. And I could make him laugh. And when he started laughing there was no stopping him. So you know, I also think as a kid, though, because we moved when he was four from Canada, from Toronto to Michigan. I think he was shy. He grew to be five nine. I'm five seven. So he growing up was shorter than all his friends. And I think that bothered him. Yeah. So I think going to parties, you know, whether it be a big function for someone then he was there with his friends. But you know, they all had family friends there and he didn't have fun. I think he felt at times a bit of an outsider, maybe, but I think he certainly grew out of that once he got the call.
Karen Ortman 03:23
So now how long have you been with the National Hockey League? Specifically Detroit Redwings?
Ken Daniels 03:29
Well, Detroit we moved here in 1997. Jamie was born in 93. So we moved here in 1997. So 25 seasons with the Redwings house with Hockey night in Canada and television in Toronto Maple Leafs radio prior to that and CBC and a lot of rain in Canada before I had the honor of being chosen by the Red Wings to be their lead television announcer
Karen Ortman 03:50
What an honor. And did you played hockey, I assume.
Ken Daniels 03:54
I did I played through high school and you may not know the name, some of your listeners might but Mike Keenan who ended the the long 40 year drove for the New York Rangers in 1994. When they finally won the Stanley Cup, Mike Keenan was their head coach one of the winningest coaches of all time he was my high school coach. I played for Mike in high school that referee through high school, bought my first car just from funds. I made refereeing I was just a rink rat. I love hockey. I love being around rank played Junior be just a few preseason games. But as I mentioned to you earlier, Karen, I was on the smaller side. And when Mike took me out for a game one night, a junior big game and he was coaching. He said come join my team. I came back to the bench. He put his arm on my shoulder. He said you do that hit again. You're gonna get killed. And that's when I picked up refereeing a little more. So better to talk about the game and live the telephone. Yeah, cold calling.
Karen Ortman 04:46
There you go. Did Jamie play hockey?
Ken Daniels 04:49
Jamie did,Jamie play hockey. He was a forward as a youngster I'm talking to age and I always wanted to be a goalie. I think he always loved the equipment. We had a match made for him that I still have in my office wanted to be a goaltender. And then at the age of 14, I think when girls come into play, and we had practices because he was a pretty good goalie, but again, didn't have the size, we didn't want to go anywhere with it, but he was pretty good. And then one night, we're leaving the rink, and it's a Friday night. And he said to me, do you mind it was November, I think, he said, Do you mind if I don't play anymore? I said what do you mean? He said, Well, you know, all my friends, a different group of friends. He enjoyed his hockey friends, but the different group and there's parties, and I'm missing those we practice three nights a week. And I said, Jimmy, if you're not happy doing this, you do what you want. The main thing is you want to enjoy what you enjoy life. It's you're not forced to and he said to me, Well, how would it look if Ken Daniels kid isn't playing hockey?
Karen Ortman 05:48
Wow. He was concerned about that. Yeah.
Ken Daniels 05:51
yeah. Don't think about that. Yeah. I said, it's what you want. So I said, you've committed to the season, you'll finish this year. And then he quit that for roller hockey, and loved it. And some of the guys he played with are now in the NHL. And he said that be great long before they were great. So he always had an eye for that, sure. And loved it.
Karen Ortman 06:09
wow did he want to pursue a career in athletics?
Ken Daniels 06:12
He, you know, he wound up loving basketball. And he was pretty good at basketball. And I wasn't good at basketball. And he said, Where did I get my talent from? So his mother, my ex wife, we conspired to tell him that in high school, I was pretty good. And he couldn't quite figure it out when he could hook Okay, and he wound up just you know, again, with friends, just loving basketball. And when he was at Michigan State, he was doing the video for the hockey team. So he was the video coordinator and befriended all the the guys on the basketball team. And if there was a party at the frat the guys in the basketball team would come because of Jamie So he would be in the room with the Spartans basketball team after games, travel with the hockey team. So he stayed in sports. He stayed in athletics
Karen Ortman 06:58
that way. So he graduated from Michigan State.
Ken Daniels 07:02
Yes, with the 3.5. How he did it. I don't know. But we'll we'll get to that. But he didn't. He was a bright kid. I think. I think that's the thing here. And I think Jamie thought he was stupid. I think he felt pressure from those around him and anxiety and that by got into the Adderall, prescribed by a doctor, and he faked the test to have the Adderall prescribed. That's how anxious he was to do well, putting the pressure on himself because he was very bright. I don't think he thought he was bright. Yeah, that was part of it all too.
Karen Ortman 07:33
Yeah. So let's talk about that a little bit. So he got a prescription for Adderall was that while in college was that in high school? Did you notice any changes in Jamie's personality in high school or college, in proximity to the Adderall situation?
Ken Daniels 07:53
No, because I think in high school, because he had more time on tests, because diagnosed, although later after Jamie was in rehab, and was clean years later in life, he told us he faked the test with the psychologist to get the Adderall when he was in high school. He was smart enough to fake the test that he needed it and he got through high school and his grades were pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. And he got into Michigan State and continued with the Adderall. When unbeknownst to us through those years, yeah, we didn't know that the Adderall then cell gets sold for the more expensive opioids etc. and goes, but we knew nothing back in 2014 and 2015.
Karen Ortman 08:35
So he was diagnosed in 2014-15.
Ken Daniels 08:38
Supposedly, for that probably 2012 or 2013. With with ADD or ADHD or whatever it was, and I wasn't convinced his mother was convinced he didn't have it. But again, if it was a means to an end, and that was to get more time on tests.
Karen Ortman 08:56
so the, the time that he faked the test with the psychiatrist in order to get prescribed ADHD or ADD medicine, the Adderall. Were you aware that he was seeking some sort of relief? That that ultimately caused him to to fake this test? I mean, did you take him to the doctor? Is that something that he did on his own?
Ken Daniels 09:25
No, we took him because he was on you know, when you're a parent, you're you're only as happy as your unhappiest child. So we have two and of the two and my daughter is three years younger and will graduate from nursing school in May after working with our foundation for a bit. So in Chicago. So I think we wanted him to be happy. And at the time, I think in 2013, and 14, we didn't really know about Adderall. Everyone was using Adderall. So Jamie wanted so yes, we sent him to this psychologist and psychiatrist to get the Adderall. You're you're trusting him that he knows what he's doing and within this school system where he was used him. So we thought, okay, we didn't know at that time he was faking the test. It was one diagnosis. Again, his mother wasn't convinced. I said, you know, thinking blindly at the time? Well, if he's happy, he's doing well on tests. And we don't we didn't see any strange behavior. And it wasn't like he was taking five Adderall a day. We were control controlling the medication. Okay. Oh, god. Yeah. So we were certainly aware of that, but we didn't know to what extent long term use was of Adderall. And then when you get to college, how it's abused
Karen Ortman 10:31
right? Now, in 20 1314. He was in college. Correct?
Ken Daniels 10:37
I have to go back through the years,
Karen Ortman 10:39
because if he was born in 93, and I only know this because my son was born in 93. And he graduated high school in 2011. And graduated college
Ken Daniels 10:48
then 2010. Would have it okay. You lose track of yours? Yeah,
Karen Ortman 10:52
yeah, you do. Yep.
Ken Daniels 10:53
Yeah, you got it.
Karen Ortman 10:54
So it was in high school in 2010, where he was prescribed the Adderall.
Ken Daniels 11:01
the Adderall Yeah.
Karen Ortman 11:02
Yeah. Okay. So you were controlling the medicine in high school? Would you say that, that there were no issues that you were aware of beyond him being prescribed Adderall?
Ken Daniels 11:17
Right. I wouldn't say there were certainly not. And I don't even think I remember we talked about weed at the time. And that was really before vaping was in Oh, some of his friends were smoking weed. But Jamie never really liked that. At least he told us and I think his sister told us the same thing. Yeah, he wasn't really into that. So I think he was the Adderall and just going about life, what they did, or high school parties, where they did occasion and drinking, but again, I'd never they never came home and drunk or we had to pick them up from somewhere and drive. No, that never was an issue.
Karen Ortman 11:51
Okay, so he goes to college, he goes to Michigan State. At some point during his college career, did you observe any changes in his behavior, his personality?
Ken Daniels 12:04
No. And I can tell you after the fact because it was four months after Jamie died. I remember when I took the call in Florida. The kid who started in on opioids, from a doctor prescription he had was in his first year when he was in a frat house. He switched from the dorm in the first year where all his friends were so tight in the front left the dorm, which we okay, but at the time, you know, that's where his friends were in the frat house. And he was doing okay, in school, the grades were alright. And a friend called us after he passed and asking my forgiveness. Because he was the one who introduced him to opioids. And you know, at the time when Jamie told us later, well, a doctor prescribed a dad and yeah, he got high. And within five days, I think he was hooked. But we didn't really see any of that. At the time, not until after he graduated. And he's around the house more and the moods because he wasn't living with us. Yeah, you know, from home in summertime, and he'd be away at summer camp. He go away. And he was a camp counselor. So we didn't see a lot of it. I mean, yeah, you could be moody. But then you think it's it's a teenager, it's a kid in his early 20s and wants to be with his friends and I don't want to be controlled by his parents, but he was never outwardly rude. I think after high school, you started to notice the changes or fall asleep and you see him more at the dinner table, exhausted or moodier, more time in his room, things like that. You notice because you're around him more. Yeah. graduating from school at the time. And he was okay. And he was working. I mean, he was working with the Michigan State hockey team for two of the four years at Michigan State. So he was with them and on the road. And I know those kids now and I asked him after the fact was Jamie ever high, not that we could tell. He was doing video I would go and because I call some Michigan State hockey games. I go watch practice with him. He do his video. I watched him work. And yeah, so it wasn't like he wasn't getting through the day. Right? I can't say the parties weren't massive at his frat house because again, if Jamie called some, you know, some of the athletes and they wanted to be there. And Jamie said they're coming cause he was so going. Funny, strange thing is Karen after he graduated, and he was sober. through all the steps we go through, I said to him was so what you're going through now wasn't worth it. And he said, You know what, that my college years and again, he was not high at the time. He'd been sober for at least six weeks on asking this question the first time. And he said, I don't think I could have got through it without it. And the friends I made, I wouldn't have been as outgoing. If I weren't on something. And I said that sad in a way because I think your personality youcould have been
Karen Ortman 14:51
what did he tell you was on
Ken Daniels 14:54
while the opioids or whatever he was on meds, whatever opioids are in the sense go and get Yeah. I don't know whether it was oxy or what he was.
Karen Ortman 15:02
yeah. yeah. But when did you know that he suffered from from substance use disorder?
Ken Daniels 15:10
What he was home with us?
Karen Ortman 15:12
Ken Daniels 15:13
Yeah, after college. We I don't even know if we suspected because it was the Adderall. And he was okay. I think maybe his final year of college, just the moods, or he'd call and he'd ask for more money. And I'd say, Boy, you have enough money? How much do you need? You talk to friends? What are you giving yours? And Jamie was always maybe a little bit more. And then after Jamie passed, a friend of mine whose son passed in Canada, he would call me and he said, Did you ever notice that Jamie would call you from school and say that I need an extra 25 bucks and need to get into this bar to cover charge? And I said, Yeah, but I always thought he had enough money. I mean, you got another 25 of that, man, how did he spend it that week? Because that was the cost of an opioid pill. And not that it was prevalent. But I think that final year at Michigan State, I'd hang up the phone and talk to Jamie in a great mood. And now I know now, and when I do speaking engagements, how those who are high can manipulate
Karen Ortman 16:10
Ken Daniels 16:10
and lie and change it on a dime.
Karen Ortman 16:13
Ken Daniels 16:13
And I would often Jamie would call and we'd have a really nice conversation. Not long ones. He was a school and it was all good. All I'm good dad, blah, blah, blah. And I'd hang up the phone and I'm like okay, I'm waiting for that other shoe to drop. And the next day or three hours later would come the ask for something, or I need this or I need that. And then you get belligerent. That's when I started to know. I said something that was going on? Yeah. And you saw more of it when he came home.
Karen Ortman 16:39
Yeah. And what would happen when you would confront him about it?
Ken Daniels 16:43
Oh, nothing. You know that crazy dad! I'm not Hi, what are you talking about my high. I remember that summer after he graduated, or just after he graduated and had graduation, he was working up at a summer camp here in Michigan as a, you know, a land sports construct, mostly basketball. And he called me from there and just didn't seem right all the time, and just miserable. And sure enough, later that summer, he injured his hand. And they must have given him some pills. And that's when he made the call and said, Dad, I need to go to rehab. And that's what we knew.
Karen Ortman 17:24
So that was a phone call?
Ken Daniels 17:26
And we called place here in Michigan, which didn't turn out to be good because he was there for 12 days. And when you're over the age of 18. I mean, you know, you can't force him to go, Yeah, but he was willing to go and that was because I had suspected at that point. And I was in tears with him on the phone. And he said, I've never been more proud of you in my entire life. And he went to you know, we checked him in he was there and we have visiting. Well, it must have been longer than it must have been two and a half weeks. The first week we did not see him. And then two weeks, and he didn't even want me coming in because someone they recognize me. So he was still aware that didn't want the shame. And the stigma that surrounds someone may see Ken Daniels kid is here. I didn't care about that. I just want to see him. But I didn't go in and his mother went in. And when he left, they told us to Google a therapist. This was the outpatient treatment we got the first time. So when you're a parent and your kid is first addicted, yeah and in treatment. Yeah. We didn't know at the time, you better be here for 30 days, in two weeks. What the hell is that? Right, what I do know on the way home, we called and Jamie had to speak to the doctor and left a message for him to stop the Adderall. So that's when the prescription had to stop. And Jamie was on the phone and left him a voice message because we heard it make it and we said Jamie, tell the doctor, we're in the car with him left the message so he could not get the Adderall anymore. And honestly about you know, the third week, we have a great time together. We were sitting. And Jamie said I don't think I've ever talked to you this long in years. I said, no, no kidding. Because you're you're you're not high. Not that I knew it was high the first three years or so. Yeah. But you're just seeing life now as it should be. And it was great. Until a few months later.
Karen Ortman 19:05
Ken Daniels 19:05
back you go again.
Karen Ortman 19:06
So it was that the first his first trip to rehab?would you say it was 12 days?
Ken Daniels 19:13
12 to 14 days? Yeah. Not long enough at all?
Karen Ortman 19:17
No. And then so he leaves that rehab and comes back home
Ken Daniels 19:22
Comes back home.
Karen Ortman 19:24
And what and and you had these lengthy, joyful conversations with him. But at some point, I'm sure something changed.
Ken Daniels 19:31
Yeah, something changed and back with friends again. And that's why I don't know if you agree with this or not. And people ask me and I said I'm not the doctor here. I can't tell you what to do. And I'm not a psychiatrist, I am not a therapists. I can only tell you Jamie's story. And when you see him, you think he's getting high again. You can cut him off. Do you cut them off and send them out in the street? Do you say you can't live here anymore? Do you? Do you threatened that he has to be willing to go to rehab. I don't know what the right answer is.
Karen Ortman 19:58
I don't know
Ken Daniels 19:59
maybe you can tell me whatyou've seen?
Karen Ortman 20:00
I don't know.
Ken Daniels 20:01
they don't know.
Karen Ortman 20:02
I don't know.
Ken Daniels 20:04
Yeah, we need help, and you need meetings. And that's what you need to do. And at the time, we're flying blind and remember this, this is 2015. So what did we know that we, we wish we always had as I go on to speak now, I wish I knew then what I know now.
Karen Ortman 20:18
Yeah. But I think that's also the importance of this conversation. Because not only is substance abuse, stigmatized, parents in particular, never know if they're making the right decision, and who's to say what that right decision is. So that's a conversation that needs to be out there parents, I'm sure, like, you are thinking, Am I making the right decision? Did I do the right thing? What's the answer? Nobody knows the answer. You know, it's a very subjective sort of conversation, but it's a conversation that has to be had. And people feel comfortable.
Ken Daniels 20:54
Yeah, we had Jamie meeting with a therapist, obviously, after he got out of rehab, and you started to see him slipping back again.
Karen Ortman 21:01
What did you observe? When you say that?
Ken Daniels 21:03
Oh, just miserable moods, and falling asleep in his soup at the table. And I know, we there were people here at the house. My stepdaughters friends were over, we weren't home yet. We came home and they came up to me and said, You should have seen Jamie taking about five tries to try and put his arm into his jacket, and then he left with the car, which pisses me off when he came home, because who knows what could happen. That's when I I laughed, and I told him when he said, I want to get a job I'm going to be I'd like to get a job as an Uber driver. And he said, over my dead body, you'd never be an Uber driver. That's not That's not ever gonna happen. I'm not risking your life and somebody else poor soul in your car. That's not happening. So you know, and then it's a another check in at the hospital, when finally he was so belligerent and threatened his mother and wanted no part of me to come into the hospital. You you could you could just see it. It's like, who is he? Who is this kid? He has no idea who I am. And then two days later, of course, there's not even an apology. But it's a different kid again, until he's using again. So I said, that was the scariest night for me, I think, going to the emergency room at the hospital after he threatened his mother. And she knew he was high and took him there. And I came there it was, what the hell are you doing here and out of nowhere, I went, Oh, my goodness, that's when we contacted his therapist. And we got him down to Florida.
Karen Ortman 22:34
how close in proximity was that event where he threatened his mother and ended up in the hospital to December 7.
Ken Daniels 22:44
Oh, that would have been long before because he had gone to a beach way therapy in Florida, which we believe was a good place for, you know, the detox for the 30 day detox and they place you with meetings, and you go to live amongst your peers again. So that probably was a good he 9-10 months before that, when he went to Florida most of that year probably went down to Florida, March, or April, I think we started to make the calls in March and through the therapists, she heard of this place in Florida. He was in there, we did not talk to him for the first two weeks. And my goodness, after that, the next two weeks, it was like a different kid. And here's to the part where I know you'll get to with patient brokering. But when he would came out of each way therapy and his therapist, Brian, they were going to go look for a place to live. And as expensive as therapy can be, you know, as a parent, and Jamie would call me after those first two weeks, and we talked lots and sound like a different kid. And he said, Why are so many kids here paying nothing? Why isn't this all covered by insurance? And I said, Jamie, doesn't matter what I'm paying, as long as you're healthy. It doesn't matter how many 1000s. Like many parents will think that as long as your kids on the right path, if they can afford it. Yeah, hopefully. And this seemed to be a good place. At any rate, when the therapist was talking about to look for places in Florida to live, you know, the homes that are sober, and you're attending meetings, and they're associated with that place. And he was telling me it was you know, $245 a week, and that doesn't include food, etc. And that all adds up. And Jamie was going to have a job and pay for a part of it. That was part of what we're going to do it he agreed to. And I said to the therapist, boy 245 a week. We could not include the food that's expensive. And his word to me was I'll never forget it. Well, this remember this is 2016, early 2016. He said in Florida, you get what you pay for. I wish I'd listened harder to that statement. But I didn't know anything about patient brokering or all the illicit things that were going on with homes and building insurance companies and I knew nothing of that at the time. So where he went and then found the home that he was in after it was great until he got patient brokered.
Karen Ortman 24:57
So can you can you explain what that means? Patient brokering.
Ken Daniels 25:01
Patient brokering is the greedy side of the recovery business, where homes that are anything but sober pay kids who are in those homes, maybe two 300-400,000, to bring other kids into that home, that isn't sober, but the kids don't know that as long as they have good insurance. And then they'll send that kid once he's in that home to a doctor for testing, where ultimately after just a month or so we got bills for $60,000-$ 15,000 for peeing in a cup. And they'd built the insurance industry, and you send it to you send to a doctor who's associated with that house. And then that doctor sends out your bloodwork to the lab, which then feeds back to the doctor that he's getting money on the side. And then the labs built the insurance company. So when I was getting these bills, I spoke to Blue Cross-Blue Shield and Michigan. And they went through all the bills. And now Jamie is part of a indictment of the doctors whom Jamie saw, will stand trial at some point this year because of COVID. It was put off with the grand jury. But Jamie is one of the five indictments against this doctor. And his doctor's office has been picketed in the past in Florida. It's been ongoing. They've been investigated by the FBI for years. So the FBI called us and we were in touch with Blue Cross- Blue Shield of Michigan, and one of the dates where Jamie's signature was forged. We believe, by this doctor around Thanksgiving of 2016, we have proof that Jamie was with us here in Michigan because we have photos of him at a game with the Joe Louis Arena. He couldn't possibly have been there on the dates where the doctor has him. So that's what patient brokering is. There is a movie on Amazon Prime called Body Brokers, which I have not seen others have. It's the CD greedy side of the recovery business. And one of the homes where Jamie stayed. It was associated with a fellow by the name of Kenneth Chapman, who's now serving 27 years in prison.
Karen Ortman 27:15
So do you have any reason to believe that? When when Jamie was seeking these homes in which to recover that they were giving him substances to keep his addiction going?
Ken Daniels 27:33
Yes, we do. Because when Jamie left the home, which was good, and Chris was the manager there, you know, in there for five or six months or so. And he wished he'd never left. And I did talk to Chris after but he said you know kids think when they get to this stage in six months sober, you're good. You know, you're 23 years old, I can go on my life. I'm good. But you're not. And I know when Jamie was going to meetings and I guess ultimately met this kid. It because Jamie called me and said dad, I met this kid and at the meeting it is so sad. His dad committed suicide this and that. And this is the kid we believe who patient broker Jamie and I said where are you now because he had his car in Florida. We send his car down there because he was working at a law firm. He was a clerk at a law firm, he to get around. And he said he's in Target. I gave him some money to go buy some T shirts. I said wait a minute, I'm supporting you or at least three weeks, or you're paying three weeks or month I rent I'm paying one I'm not supporting enough for two but ultimately as we came to discover in an ESPN II 60 investigation, who caught up with him, although he denies patient brokering Jamie. But we believe he did because Jamie met him and how else did he find this house. And when Jamie was at this house, he was sent to a doctor associated with the House who put him on a generic form of Xanax. Now what sober home would put a kid who comes to stay there to see a doctor who would put a recovering addict on Xanax generic or not, no one would. So we didn't know that until after the fact that we found the prescription bottles, which were empty as the police detectives in Boynton Beach found when and Jamie's laptop and other items were also missing as the kid who was in his room who brought him to that house fled. Ultimately SBN II 60 did catch up with him, but denies patient brokering and because we have a string of texts, which we show them from the kid asking for money to get James belongings back.
Karen Ortman 29:39
How many legitimate rehabilitation centers did Jamie attend? In his attempt to recover
Ken Daniels 29:49
i'd say one here, which wasn't great, but it was certainly legit. Yeah. And in Florida, and then the recovery house in Florida the first one was legit. So if you include the detox the inpatient detox for 30 days, the place here for two weeks, and then the place in Florida for the number of months, I think there were three, we believe the final home where Jamie was patient brokered from talking with the police there. Someone in that home, gave him a pill that night, because that evening, I remember I was in Winnipeg, to call a red winged game. And after every game, Jamie and I spoke, and I talked to Jamie that night, and we're an hour before. So we're in, you know, Central Time. James is on eastern time in Florida. And I called him after the game and he said, Boy, you guys were brutal, meaning the Redwings and I said What are you talking about? We came back in one. And he said, Well, I watched the first period. I said, you're right. It wasn't a good first period. But the TK back in one. I said, What were you doing? He said, I went out to paint the wheels on my car. And I said on No, you didn't. He said, Yeah, Dad, they're all black. It's It's so cool. I'll send you pictures. When I get to work in the morning. I said, Okay, we hung up the phone. That was the last time we spoke with a love you bye. And the next morning, I got the knock on the door from the police offer police officer here in Michigan. So we believe that Jamie took a pill from someone in that house that night. Because the next day when Jamie passed, as the 911 call came in. From what we understand Jamie's body was left there in the room for well over an hour while they cleaned up the house before they call the police to come because there were so many illicit of drugs there. But that's what happens in the greedy side of the recovery business. These so called sober homes with great names, or anything, but it's all about building the insurance industry and getting doctors on board payments on the side lab tests. And Jamie... and again, as I spoke with Chris, the good, sober living home where he was in Florida after Jamie passed, and I said should Jamie have known through all the meetings he attended to take nothing. He said 100% Jamie knew but the doctor in that anything but sober home, put him on the generic form of Xanax which probably left him feeling better about himself feeling good and want that life's good. I can take this not gonna hurt me. Well, it...It did. Because it shocked his heart with probably a speck of fentanyl in it.
Karen Ortman 32:25
When you got that knock on the door from the police officers in Michigan, did you immediately know why they were there?
Ken Daniels 32:36
My first words and the officer Joe Bunting who came, I did not know because Birmingham was a smaller city in Michigan. And I'm still friendly now with many of the police officers there and we'll golf together. They did not come to the house. They got the call. They knew and they couldn't bear to do it. And so Joe Kane, and since I've talked with Joe lots after the fact that he dreaded that day and I felt even feel badly for him having to do it. I couldn't imagine having that job to tell families and I saw him and I the vivid memory because I was wrapping it was you know, three weeks before the holiday season and I was wrapping gifts on the floor and just got back from one of pigs who got up that morning and the knock on the door and I answered the door and I see a police officer there might freeze that can Daniels I said yes. My first words there anymore. What did he do? I wasn't thinking that. Yeah. I thought What did he do? Meaning that he smashed the car right? thing happened? Was he high again? I hope not. But at the time, I didn't even know what fentanyl was right. I didn't know. And now it's everywhere.
Karen Ortman 33:49
Everyone knows now.
Ken Daniels 33:52
Everyone knows now.
Karen Ortman 33:53
Did you have to be the one to share with your ex wife?
Ken Daniels 34:00
Oh, yeah. Yeah. I called her waited about 40 minutes talk to Joe for probably 20 minutes got on the phone with the house manager at the house where Jamie passed, who I knew was nothing but lying to me. Talk with the police detectives down there and went one detective. She was wonderful. And we kept in touch for months after the fact. Yeah, I called her I texted her and I said where are you in her immediately when you have a son? You know, whenever it was vulnerable. Her first text back was what's wrong? You know, not that we talked a lot. The strange thing is that after we talked a whole lot more after Jamie was in recovery. And Jamie one point said to the two of us together he said I liked it better when you didn't talk because he knew he could play off. Yeah, but that wasn't happening anymore. Yeah. So you know when what's wrong and I said nothing. I just going to be in your area got to drop something off to you because she was getting her hair done. So I certainly wasn't going to tell her there and then she got home and opened the door. That's hard. When you hear that, can you see it? And by that time, I'm a little more composed. And I think the two of us when she then called her then husband, I've already spoken with my wife. We had to drive to Michigan State to tell his sister. So the two of us drove up to Michigan State. She didn't know her mother was coming. I just called her and said, I'm going to be at my ICER at Michigan State, because I'm going to be calling a game there. So I'm going to see the Spartans for a bit. Are you around? And she said, Yeah, I'm in the dorm, or apartment at the time. She was in the apartment. And she came downstairs, and she sees her mother sitting in the front seat. So right away, she knew. And she said, what happened? Did Bobby die, meaning her grandmother. And she got him a car. Her mom gotten back seat. And I'll never, ever get that primal scream in my head.
Karen Ortman 36:28
Ever, it's painful. You can't.
Ken Daniels 36:30
So as much as I know that Jamie is at peace now. And I can talk about him. Yeah. her. And she'll post about her brother. He just antagonize her, but they were best friends. And he drove me crazy. And you know, being the older brother, we probably blame him for a lot of the stuff because she get him in trouble. Jamie did this. Jamie did that. It wasn't always the case. They were so tight. You know, and when, after he had graduated from Michigan State and love to see her, and I think that's also when as a us too. How did we know after he graduated? We knew also because he go to see Arlen, and they'd be sitting in a Starbucks. And he'd be falling over. And she get him out of there and driving back to her place. Because she knew and he was embarrassing her. So all that I mean, yeah, you put it together.
Karen Ortman 37:27
Yeah. And then I'm sure you think back on, on all of the sort of questionable moments, you know, or, or have meaning now, but didn't at that time.
Ken Daniels 37:37
Oh, sure. Sure you do. And when I when I think back was even, you know, another summer, when Jamie was up at summer camp with her as a staff member, they wanted to come in for the day, it was only 45 minute drive. But Jamie in the car and not Arland she was on a half day off. So I said, Jamie, that's fine. You can come in, but you're going to have to take her back and leave here at like three o'clock. And he said, Okay, Dad, no problem. What when he's up in his room, and I said, 230 Jimmy, you're gonna have to leave. And he said, I'm not taking her as what the hell I mean, you're not taking her we to deal you're taking her back to camp, the dad, I'm not taking her in one of those moves. Now he's up in this room. And at the time, I didn't put that together. I just thought he's been offset and want to sleep. He was tired. They are up all hours at camp. So it didn't really matter to me that much. And I drove her up in Ireland, I could spend time together in the car in January later, it really didn't matter that much. But I found, as I discovered later, he was probably high. Wanted to sleep it off. Yeah. And knew not to put her in danger. And he couldn't drive to camp at that hour. Yeah, well, stupid enough. You shouldn't know not anything anyway, my God. But when you're an addict, addicts don't want to be addicts. And the brain says, You better get high, or you're going to be as sick as you can be. You better keep this going. Right? You Your cognitive responses, the you know, the frontal lobe of the brain. It's all changed. Right? You know that the chemical imbalance, you can't and that's when I go speak. Addicts don't want to be addicts. But the brain has changed and you lose that ability to say no fear of the worst sickness you've ever had. I don't know. I haven't been that ill from COVID. Maybe COVID is just a bad. We didn't have that that now, but those who are really ill from that, but this boy and that's And the strange thing is and I and I said to you that I'm friends with so many police officers who brought many with Narcan, which wasn't in that house, there was no Narcan to be found in that place. And this was a so called recovery home in Florida. But the police officers have told me when they bring people back from Ohio with Narcan, they're pissed at the cops and bring them back because they ruin the high not that they saved their life. Yes. And if you find a drug dealer and someone knows the drug dealer got kids so high that he passed, they'll go find that drug dealer if they know where he is because they know the high is good and they'll risk the fentanyl right It's crazy. Yeah, they can't help themselves. And they don't know. So I asked people not to judge just to have empathy and to trial. Yeah.
Karen Ortman 40:09
You mentioned earlier that after Jamie's passing a friend of his called you to share with you that it was He who gave Jamie his first pill in college. Right? How did you feel? receiving that information after having just lost your son
Ken Daniels 40:31
when he called to tell me. He also told me that he was suicidal and having spoken to Jamie's mom in the past, I knew the friends that were in there and who were struggling. And he told me he was he was suicidal. So I actually at that point, I went more toward him, saying, This shouldn't end your life. Because of what happened. We all do stupid stuff. But my God, you got to get help. You got to go to meetings, make your life about helping others to do what you did and spread the message that this can't happen. you're ending your life isn't gonna bring genie back. So really, I think it turned to that. I think I was more pissed off later. But you know what if it wasn't him, I think three kids from that year and two from his frat have died. So it wasn't like it wasn't prevalent. And that's where Greek Life bothers me. I shouldn't condemn all Greek life. Some of its okay, I suppose. But it's running man. But it's just too much in the hazing, which hopefully is stopping around the US is dying and not from bills. But you know what hazing does? And the bullying and the shaming. Oh, my God, it's awful. So this was just one part of it at that time.
Karen Ortman 41:42
Yeah. Did you or your ex wife or any member of your family seek any sort of resources? While Jamie was alive and addicted to help you cope with living with a loved one who was addicted to substances?
Ken Daniels 42:01
No, because we had just gone with him to therapy. We had family therapy sessions. But after that point, Jamie was in Florida. And he was doing great. And he was working and he was studying for his LSAT. So you know, when you're almost seven months in sobriety, I think it was 248 days. And that should know the number. Because I know they count the numbers should numbers because every day is a great day. So that's what that at the end of his life for that last, you know, three quarters of the year? No, because we weren't with them. And he was doing great. Therapy, we thought it was about him when he's gonna come out and the other side of his was going to success story. And little What did we know it's not a success story till probably you die. However, you're going to die. And hopefully that's when you're at and you've gone through your life. I speak to people now or 20 years in recovery and every day, it's about gratitude. Through that day, it's it's not we didn't know two weeks in bright Michigan ears, I said to you and they tell him to Google therapist, we thought okay, two weeks, he's back with us. Okay, then you relapse again. And then he has the moment you go to the hospital here. Then he says he needs to go to rehab again and is willing to go to Florida. When you're 23 years old, you're scared but you're willing to get on a flight to go to Florida knowing nobody on your own. They pick you up and then you go live in a home with people you don't know and you get a job you find a job on your own. Yeah, I give the kid a lot of crap. Yeah, he worked hard at this. Unfortunately, patient brokered living somewhere we shouldn't and should have known to take nothing, but was on medication that he should have never been on which we believe swayed his decision making.
Karen Ortman 43:46
Tell me about the Jamie Daniels foundation.
Ken Daniels 43:51
Well, it took a while for it to get started. Jamie passed December 7 of 2016. Not until September of 2017. And when I think about this, it's almost the time of birth at nine months of a life that it took us to tell Jamie's story because I was speaking with Craig customs for a terrific writer who is now one of the top dogs at the athletic subscription sports service. And I had a book coming out called If These Walls Could Talk. And the funny thing is when I started writing the book, Jamie said to me, you're writing a book, why don't you wait until you're ready, so you can tell the real story about everybody? And I said, Well, that's really not the thought process of the book. But at any rate, and when I started writing the book just before Jamie had passed, probably October, November, and then when he passed I stopped for about three months and then you have an April deadline. You gotta get writing again. So I did the obviously the introduction is about Jamie and those sitting met along the way in the hockey business. And then September the book was coming out in 2017. And Craig called me to talk about the book. And at the end just someone might say he said you know How you doing? Not like Joey from Friends? How you doing? Yeah, it was one of those, how you doing? And immediately the voice in the back of my head, Jamie said, It's okay dad. And I told Craig the story. And I do believe in the afterlife. But I do believe that Jamie is there with me. And every time I see 1111, and we met with a medium Rebecca Rosen, who's just absolutely wonderful. And the story she told us about Jamie, she couldn't possibly have no one. I am a true believer. And Craig hung up and said, Holy shit, excuse my French. We have to talk about this. And we did, and the athletic rep. And it got on social media everywhere. And then ESPN 60 tells his story. And it's out there now. And now we're thinking, Okay, this was Jamie's purpose. You can say, Why does God take someone from us? I like to think why did God give us the gift? And what was the reason he did. And maybe the reason he did for Jamie was to save others. But the shame and stigma that surrounds addiction must end. Because on December 7 of 2016, when I had to call my brother in Toronto, my sister in Toronto and my brother in Calgary, who knew nothing, because Jamie would call them in recovery from Florida. And if we'd have a family meeting, I'd go into Toronto and see family meeting, family gathering, going to Toronto, I get him on the phone, he talked for half an hour, or whatever. But they didn't they just thought he was working on Florida, which was, we didn't tell him his recovery. Because Jamie didn't want people to judge that has to stop the shame and stigma we have to tell the stories there is should be no shame around this because it's no one's fault. You should take nothing but it could be from wisdom teeth, it could be from medication, it could be from anything, you can be an alcoholic, you don't take a drink one day and go I'm going to screw up the rest of my life and keep drinking. It's in your genes and you don't know. And it's going to happen. So let's stop the shame surrounding this and talk about it. Because if you don't think my family was pissed, when they knew nothing, thinking they could help. I'm not so sure they could have help. Maybe they could have I don't know. That's why we need to talk about what could they have done? They weren't there. What could we have done? I can't second guess that we got Jamie could help. In the end greedy people conspired to take his life. But we tried. Jamie tried. And now the more we speak out about it. Other people know to do due diligence before you go anywhere in the Jamie Daniels foundation. On our site. Getting back to your question, or your statement tell you about the foundation on our site are the questions as dual diagnosis, etc. What you need to know because at the time we're just Googling places in Florida and thank goodness or therapy, Jamie's therapist found this place to go because we didn't know what to do. And now if you go to our site, we have places on there that are vetted and you can find good spots and we are constantly updating and the questions to ask. So that is what the foundation is doing. The foundation is now in four colleges. Here in Michigan. We're looking to go statewide, we're hoping to given grants for sober living and serve in Michigan State there is a Jamie Daniels Memorial Scholarship Michigan State if someone is in recovery there in the dorm that is sober living on that dorm. We pay for full time recovery coaches, if they need to leave, and there is a cost involved come back to the school you lose some funding, we will offset that. So that's what we're doing with the Jamie Daniels Memorial Scholarship. There we are looking to build it. It's a process because you know, the NIMBY factor not in my backyard, try to find long term safe recovery housing. And to build that in Jamie's name here in Michigan. We've got great people working on it. We're making headway. We've been trying this now for two years. It's a process we're going to get there. So that is what the foundation is doing. We have events every year because Jamie love to laugh. We've had three celebrity rows of athletes making Redmond my broadcast partner of 25 years Scotty Bowman, one of the NHL all time winningest coaches and or the all time winningest coach in the NHL history. And Brett Hall on the greatest goal scorers fifth all time in NHL history, the last two virtually. But he was silent auctions, etc. called our live event the first year, we've raised just over a million dollars. From those three events this coming May 1. At Mark Ridley's comedy castle here in Michigan, we're going to do the Jamie Daniels foundation Comedy Night of hope. Two shows on that day. Again, all the money we raised 100% of it goes to the funding at the colleges and hopefully down the road for building long term recovery housing. And we speak lots and on social media. We're out there and working with other organizations. And I'll go on speaking engagements to speak to groups who need me to talk. That's what the Jamie Daniels Foundation is doing to help others so they don't wind up in our situation. And if one parent comes somewhere or I speak and their son is struggling, and I've met many, and they say okay, I'm not alone, or those who have lost will come hear me speak and you can just feel that hug Yeah, and that look, and they say, can
Karen Ortman 50:02
I just? I think Jamie would be very proud of you, and your family and what what you're doing in his name. I think that I have been to the website, I would recommend anybody checking out Jamie Daniels foundation.org. There are plentiful resources. And do you have a calendar, on your website with speaking engagements? In the event, anybody's interested in listening to you or contacting you to speak to an organization or or any group interested in recovery?
Ken Daniels 50:45
You know what I will, we'll put that on there. Because right now, a lot of them I do our podcast because of virtual. So I haven't been live anywhere in a while. I think I was live last summer at event for another recovery house here who kind of had me come speak, I did a couple events last summer. But you know what, that's a good idea. And we will put that on the calendar I think we have in the past. And there is Ken Daniels TV is my website. Again, if someone wants me to talk, you can go to Ken Daniels TV. Someone I work with does my bookings and hopefully we can be live again. So can Daniels TV is my website. And we do obviously talk about Jamie and his story on there. So and we do post addiction numbers there, unfortunately, how many we've lost this year, more than ever before because of isolation and COVID. And you can't get to meetings, I just urge anybody, virtual meetings, they do help, if you can, and no isolation because you know, you, you want to be social, you want to be amongst your peers, and those who are in recovery like you. And this has been so difficult for so many all across the United States.
Karen Ortman 51:47
Do you have any advice for a listener with an addiction to substances or a listener who knows someone with an addiction, and they're at a loss, any sort of guidance or words of wisdom you can provide?
Ken Daniels 52:06
Well, I think therapy is so important if you can get someone to listen and go. I mean, there are interventions, and we had contemplated interventions, and we didn't with Jamie, luckily enough, he was willing to go and you have to you have to notice the signs. I mean, you know with COVID, and school closing and kids spend more time in the room. Notice if you find they're more depressed to see if they're asleep. And when they would normally sleep and they go, No, I'm just tired. But you see the you know, maybe belligerent behavior, and they're moody, more so than usual. So you can get help with therapy and go with family. And perhaps go to meetings. It's hard, a lot don't want to admit it when they finally do. And just because you're going to a few meetings doesn't mean you shouldn't go to 150 more of them. This is an ongoing process, always. It's not a day by day, week, by week, month by month, it's year by year. And it's every day, and count the blessings and family around. And all I can say to those I don't know how I again, as I say empathy is the highest form of knowledge. It comes without judgment, have empathy. Don't judge addicts don't want to be addicts. Seek the help and do it as a family if you can.
Karen Ortman 53:14
When you think about Jamie, what makes you smile.
Ken Daniels 53:18
Just thinking about Jamie makes me smile. I just just his laugh. And just his love you bye. He had a very infectious laugh and a caring, loving kid. And I want to remember that. I don't want to remember that year before he went to Florida. And how troubling it was when you see your own kid not give a crap about his family, just in the effort to get drugs. And then the family sees that get help. And no, that's not your kid in there. It's the brain taking over because that substance has changed the brain. And I don't want to think of them that way. And unfortunately, it does pop up sometime. And I have to change it. And I have to again, empathy. And I'm not I'm not judging.
Karen Ortman 54:08
I like that empathy and lack of judgment. I think that's those are wise words. I thank you so much for coming and talking to me today, and for sharing your story and sharing Jamie's life and his legacy. And I think that your words and your willingness to be vulnerable, helps in that effort to D stigmatize these conversations. So thank you.
Ken Daniels 54:39
Thank you. Thanks for having me. Thank you for your doing.
Karen Ortman 54:42
My pleasure. So thank you once again to my guest, Ken and to all of our listeners for joining us for today's episode of You matter if any information presented was triggering or disturbing. Please feel free to contact the lowness exchange at 212-443-9999 or NY US Department Campus Safety and their victim services unit at 212-998-2222. Please share like and subscribe to you matter on Apple podcasts, Google Play tune in, or Spotify