It’s a story no journalist ever wants to write, but one that grabs the attention of readers like no other.
During the Easter long weekend, Esquimalt teen Heather McLean passed away from a suspected drug overdose — a few weeks shy of her 18th birthday. The teen’s death has left her family devastated and instilled fear in parents dealing with troubled teens throughout the capital region.
Most people think they are invincible during their teenage years, including Heather. Her family was well aware of her drug use and talked to her many times about the dangers, but Heather believed nothing bad would ever happen since she paid $20 extra for supposed fentanyl-free drugs.
It’s not yet known whether fentanyl was in the batch of cocaine she was using the day she died, but her family can’t help but suspect it played a factor. More than 90 per cent of the cocaine, heroin and crystal meth samples tested at a local pharmacy now contain some amount of fentanyl, which is 20 times more potent than OxyContin. Even one dose can be fatal.
After reading the sombre story about Heather’s death, which was shared nearly 300 times on the Victoria News’ Facebook page, it’s likely many parents are giving their kids an extra hug every night. Others are trying to figure out who to blame as the province continues to grapple with the overdose crisis, which claimed another 120 lives in March.
The RCMP and China’s public security ministry have agreed to work together to fight the illegal trafficking of fentanyl into Canada, but it’s hard to point to a single solution that will stop the fatal overdoses other than getting users to stop.
Heather’s death comes as another wake up call to all drug users, and it sadly won’t be the last.