I wrote the 30,500-word young adult novel, "Aerdrie”, as a literary response to law enforcement’s recent pleas for public help in its battle against the recruitment of youngsters by violent drug gangs. This edgy novel also addresses the inherent dangers of illicit drug use as illustrated by the recent deaths of several Alberta teens from Ecstasy.   

Aerdrie is the story of a young girl whose recreational drug use threatens to become something more serious when she discovers Ecstasy. Burdened with a low self-esteem and the product of a broken family, Aerdrie begins craving the comfort she derives from the illicit drug. 

To create the realistic and factual backdrop to this story, I have drawn on my parenting and psychiatric nursing expertise, my volunteer experiences with the RCMP, information from an RCMP workshop on youth gangs, and Canada’s National Drug Strategy webpage. 

The street language is rough and the content bold, but I believe the story as told will resonate with most young teens.


“Got something new, if you want to try it,” Canyon said. He pulled out a vial of pills. “A new brand of Ecstasy.” He spilled some into his hand and passed them to Davis. “Let me know what you think.” Canyon picked up a wrench, turned to the greasy engine on his workbench, and tapped at it.

“Davis, no!” Aerdrie whispered. 

“It’s just beans. It’s not addictive,” Davis said, rolling the pills in his palm. 

“Share them with Bucky,” Canyon grinned. “They’ll make her fall in love with you.” 

Davis swallowed some and put two in Aerdrie’s hand. “Take both of them. This is wussie stuff,” Davis said.

Aerdrie stared at the tiny yellow tablets in her hand. Contrary to her mother’s accusations, she wasn’t planning to become a druggie.

“I thought you said she was into this shit, Dog!” Canyon shouted, hurling his wrench onto the workbench and stepping toward Davis. “Did you bring me the wrong woman?”

Aerdrie quickly popped the pills into her mouth and swallowed.

Canyon kept his eyes on Davis as he slowly plucked his ringing cell phone from the holster on his belt. He finally flipped open his phone and turned away. “Yo,” he greeted.

Aerdrie peered up at Davis. He looked like he didn’t give a shit about anything. 

“Be right back,” Canyon whispered to Davis as he brushed past them and bounded up the three steps into the house. The door slid closed behind him.

Aerdrie looked around the garage. It was probably bigger than her entire house. The walls were painted off-white, the ceiling stippled, and banks of fluorescent lights lit the three bays.

“Davis, let’s go!” she said, tugging at his elbow.

“He hasn’t given us our delivery yet,” Davis said. 

“He’s creepy,” Aerdrie said. “I don’t like the way he looks at me. Besides, it’s almost ten and I was supposed to be home at nine.”

“You can’t just take a man’s drugs and walk out on him,” Davis said, strolling past her to the motorcycle. He ran a finger over the chrome nameplate.

“Why not?” Aerdrie said, racing to his side. 

“Because . . . .” Davis said, walking around the Harley. 

Aerdrie nervously glanced over her shoulder at the door. “What are you getting me into?” she whispered.

“You said you wanted to belong to a gang. I got us a real one. Don’t sweat it.”

“I didn’t mean a motorcycle gang,” Aerdrie protested. “Just kind of like a group of friends.”

“I am your friend. Now Canyon is, too.”

“What about Kit?” 

“Canyon says Kit’s too soft.” 

“I don’t want to be in a gang without Kit,” Aerdrie said. “Let’s just go back to being DAK.” 

“Doesn’t work that way on the street,” Davis said. He flipped open one of the bike’s saddlebags and peered in. “I can see a gun.” 

“Davis, let’s go!” Aerdrie pleaded. 

“We can’t just ‘go’!” Davis shouted. “Canyon says we’re either with him or we’re not and if we’re not, he’ll wipe us out. Okay? Do you get that?” He closed the saddlebag and re-latched it. 

“You mean he’ll kill us?” Aerdrie gasped. 

Davis jammed his hands in his pockets and looked to the ceiling. “What difference does it make? We’re in with him, okay?”

“Sorry,” Canyon called from the doorway. “But I gotta get out of here.” He dashed down the steps toward them. “Here,” he said, passing Aerdrie a big brown envelope. “Give that to Mick at the convenience store on 54th. The one by the TD.”

He opened the side door and motioned her and Davis out. “Oh, just a minute. I almost forgot.” He drew a fifty-dollar bill from his wallet and pressed it into Aerdrie’s hand. “Just because you’re beautiful.”