'It could be anyone's child': Grieving moms call for action on fentanyl
Published Tuesday, August 16, 2016 7:51AM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 16, 2016 11:00AM PDT
The mother of a teen killed by a suspected fentanyl overdose says not enough is being done to help young people struggling with the dangerous drug.
Gwyn Staddon, 16, was discovered unresponsive in the washroom of a Port Moody Starbucks nine days ago, and could not be revived. Her mother believes fentanyl is behind her tragic death.
Dozens gathered in Rocky Point Park to remember the teen Monday night, paying tribute to a girl whose life ended much too soon.
Describing her daughter as "her best friend," Veronica Staddon called for more treatment centres for teens battling addictions.
She wants to see the province and justice system come down harsher on drug dealers.
"I think they're getting away with murder," she told CTV Vancouver.
Staddon said her daughter had gone to detox in the past but their family could not afford private treatment, and the wait lists for publicly-funded treatment were too lengthy.
Less than three weeks ago, Christy Clark announced a provincial task force to combat B.C.'s fentanyl epidemic. The drug currently claims an average of two lives a day.
Clark said urgent action needed taken to combat what she called an "urgent health emergency."
For Gwyn's boyfriend Nicholas Jensen and his mother Michelle, the loss reopens a wound that hasn't healed. Their family lost a son to fentanyl, exactly six months before Gwyn passed away.
"She was just the most amazing girl I've ever met. I wanted to spend my life with her and this drug took that away from me," said Nicholas Jensen.
Michelle Jensen said their family still wasn't over the shock of her own son's death when they heard about Gwyn.
"It's surreal," she said. "It could be anyone's child."
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Sarah MacDonald