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

Port Alberni residents enjoy public tours on Coast Guard vessel

PromoScience Expedition offered the public a chance to learn about marine research

Coast Guard vessel open for second day of public tours on Alberni waterfront

Talk to marine scientists, learn about research equipment on CCGS Vector

Port Alberni walks for World Food Day

John Paul II Catholic School students walked to end world hunger

San Group announces plans to build new sawmill in Port Alberni

San Group has purchased 25 acres of Catalyst Paper land on Stamp Avenue for its expansion

Two Port Alberni cannabis dispensaries raided on legalization day

Leaf Compassion and Cannabis Club ticketed for “unlawful sale” of cannabis

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

2018 municipal election: Few surprises on Vancouver Island

16 incumbent mayors will continue in their positions for four more years

Prank pizzas delivered to B.C. mayor on election night

The fake orders happened throughout Victoria mayor’s re-election campaign

MLA to become Nanaimo’s next mayor, could weaken NDP’s grasp on power

Leonard Krog’s win will trigger a byelection when he gives up his provincial seat

Horvat nets OT winner as Canucks beat Bruins 2-1

Young Vancouver star had spirited scrap earlier in contest

Vernon Vipers bounce Bulldogs 5-1

In B.C. Hockey League action at Kal Tire Place

Team Canada gold medal winners for first time in world curling championship

Team Canada earned gold in Kelowna at the 2018 Winn Rentals World Mixed Curling Championship

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

Most Read