A Belmont Secondary school student has died of a suspected drug overdose, said the Sooke School District. (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

Grade 10 student at B.C. high school dies from suspected overdose

A Vancouver Island school district is asking parents, guardians to speak with their children about drugs and alcohol

June is normally a time for celebration for many high school students – prom, graduation, and the end of the school year. But instead of celebrating, one local family will be burying their son.

The Grade 10 Belmont Secondary student died of a suspected overdose on Sunday, June 3. The incident did not take place on school property.

“It sucked the air out of me,” said Sooke School District superintendent Jim Cambridge. “This happens to be my last year in this role and it’s certainly not the way I wanted to end the year having a tragic incident like this … Twenty-six schools in our school district and everybody feels the loss, not just one.”

On Monday, parents and guardians of Belmont students were informed via email of the student’s death. The email identified the student, but that information was only released beyond the immediate school community. Students were also read a copy of the announcement.

Staff at the school spoke with students about the loss and the district’s critical incident team was deployed to help students cope.

RELATED: Parents grieving teen’s overdose death said it started with opioid prescription

This is the second suspected overdose death of a high school student in the Capital Region in roughly two months. In April, 16-year-old Oak Bay resident Elliot Eurchuk died after an unintentional overdose.

There have also been other deaths in recent years. In 2016, two Victoria High school students died of opioid overdoses as well. Their deaths were followed by that of 17-year-old Esquimalt teen Heather McLean, who died from an overdose during the 2017 Easter long weekend.

According to the B.C. Coroners Service, 511 people have died from overdoses in B.C. this year, with Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria seeing the highest number of deaths.

Cambridge noted while the overdose crisis has hit downtown Victoria, schools on the West Shore are now starting to see a trickle affect.

“We know that this problem is not school oriented, it’s coming down from older adults and is now trickling into schools and that’s concerning us and we want to see an end to this,” he said.

“We as parents and students don’t understand the real risks that are out there right now or the potency of the drugs that are available. I’m very concern that kids are making choices that they shouldn’t be making at 15, 16, 17 years old.”

RELATED: 511 overdose deaths in B.C. so far in 2018: coroner

To prevent another student death from occurring, Cambridge stressed the importance of parents talking openly with their children about substance abuse, including alcohol, medications and other drugs.

“Those conversations are really difficult to have many times. It requires some training, lots of parents are concerned about doing that, but it’s an important conversations to have. We know that the risk nowadays is significantly different than it has been in the past,” he said.

Some tips to help parents start the conversation with their kids include keeping the lines of communications open and have honest and non-judgmental conversations with your teen, approach the conversation with curiosity and interest, ask for their opinions, focus on your concerns for their safety, know the facts about drugs, understand and address your own fears before starting the conversation.

Counselling services are also available to students. Students, parents or guardians can make an appointment by calling the school’s office at 250-478-5501.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

No end in sight, smoke is here to stay

There is no anticipated change in weather for the Okanagan-Shuswap this week

Animal rights activists to protest Kelowna’s RibFest launch

Animal rights activists plan on sinking their teeth into an annual event they say is unethical and unhealthy.

Private school in Summerland anticipates 50 students in its first year

Unisus International School will follow International Baccalaureate program

Summerland music promoter up for CCMA award

Paul Biro has worked in music industry for more than 25 years

Summerland receives grant for climate action initiative

Money from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the federal government

No growth on the Monashee Complex wildfires

Mabel Creek, Sugar Mountain and Harris Creek fires continue to burn near Lumby and Cherryville

Shuswap city’s panhandling bylaw put on hold after public hearing

Council allows time to pursue more compassionate solutions

B.C. not prepared for a Humboldt Broncos bus crash, group says

An air ambulance advocacy group wants an overhaul of B.C.’s emergency medical system in rural regions

UPDATE: Three new fires sparked in the South Okanagan- Similkameen

BC Wildfire Service is responding to a blaze off Olalla forest service road

Liberals look at creating federal holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said day to recognize painful legacy would boost understanding

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Crews are working to contain the wildfire north of Okanagan Connector

Update: Aug. 15 Crews will continue to mop up and extend hose… Continue reading

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

B.C. gangster charged after man allegedly beaten with a golf club

Langley man facing aggravated assault charge after incident allegedly involved golf club and machete

Most Read