Fewer messages hit home stronger than those rooted in a death, particularly that of a young person.
And the message delivered by the South Surrey family of 20-year-old Danika Koltai in recent days is no exception.
Danika, who was a popular employee at the Morgan Crossing Starbucks at the time of her death, died of a drug overdose Sept. 1 in Delta.
In a heart-wrenching Facebook post, her father Tom describes her passing as the result of “an accidental but deadly concoction of prescription and non-prescription” drugs.
Specifics of the circumstances surrounding Danika’s death have not been made public.
But her father emphasizes a point that perhaps not everyone considers when learning of such tragedies: that what happened to Danika could happen to anyone who uses drugs, regardless of stature, and regardless of whether they use on a regular basis, recreationally or “just this once.”
Like so many others before her who have overdosed – and there have been hundreds in B.C. this year already, with many linked to the deadly opioid fentanyl – a choice was made the night she died, one that brought consequences Danika likely never considered could ever happen to her.
Her older brother, who also reached out on Facebook, hopes that sharing what happened to Danika will give others pause.
“This is a wakeup call,” he writes.
As Danika’s father states, “your own safety is a direct function of your chosen behaviours.”
How much stronger does the message need to be?