A teenage girl who was allegedly failed by the system was found dead in the bathroom of a Starbucks in Port Moody.
There’s nothing comparable to the loss of a child, and we know there will be more grieving parents to come.
More details from Opposing Views:
Staddon’s mother, Veronica, says she “completely suspects” that her daughter died from an overdose of fentanyl, says CBC. Her official cause of death has yet to be determined.
“My best friend, my daughter, my sweetheart baby … I will never stop missing you,” the mother wrote on Facebook. “My heart won’t stop breaking.”
According to Veronica, Gwynevere had been struggling with substance abuse for some time. Prior to her death, she told her mother she had stopped using for three weeks.
“I’ve quit, so I’m OK now, Mom,” Veronica recalled Gwynevere saying. “It was calling out her name, and so she thought, ‘One more time.’ The one more time was the very last time.”
Veronica says she looked into putting Gwynevere into rehab, but the wait lists for public clinics are too long and she could not afford a private clinic.
“If I don’t have $50,000 available, then they are not something I can use as a resource,” she told CBC.
“The whole world is missing out on a born entertainer,” Veronica continued. “Either that, or a future politician.”
Veronica says she wants to see more done to get drug dealers off the streets and to provide rehabilitation to those in need.
The percentage of fentanyl-related drug deaths has been rising steadily over the past few years. Fentanyl is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine, and it’s cut with regular street drugs – heroin, cocaine, and fake OxyContin, for instance. Unless you have access to a lab, there’s no way to know what you’re taking, and what you are taking could kill you.
So how do we stop more people from dying?
Public awareness campaigns aimed at naive drug users, dabbling on weekends, appear to be working, and there are fewer deaths in this demographic. It’s the hardcore users that are still dying, and on an average of about one a day in B.C., according to the coroner’s office.
We already know the “don’t do drugs” mantra won’t cut it.
This brings us back to the old conversation about harm reduction. The principle is this: People will use it anyway, so we need to make it safer and less stigmatizing. We need to treat addiction like the medical problem it is, not a deviant lifestyle.
Preaching abstinence to people who are going to use anyway does not and will never work. We need more needle exchanges, more treatment centres, more detox beds, more options for 16-year-old girls who would consider getting high in a Starbucks bathroom.
We know the political will is there. But we need policymakers and politicians to hurry up. Every day, we lose another daughter or son to this crisis.