Model's death highlights 'the agony of ecstasy'
Published Friday, November 13, 2009 5:00PM PST
The RCMP has launched a new national anti-drug campaign that features the story of a young B.C. woman who died last year after overdosing on illegal synthetic drugs.
Erin Spanevello, of West Vancouver, had just turned 21 when she died from cardiac and respiratory failure.
The stimulant MDMA, also known as Ecstasy, and the depressant, GHB, were found in her system.
"We were caught absolutely blindsided by this drug coming into our household and appearing in our family," her mother, Catherine, told CTV News.
RCMP officials say Ecstasy is typically ingested orally in the form of a tablet or capsule and is produced in a variety of colours and shapes. Some tablets are stamped with popular symbols or logos that appeal to young people.
"We know Ecstasy is basically produced by criminal or organized criminal groups in clan[destine] labs," said RCMP Sgt. Anthony Choy. "They don't have any regard for safety. There's nobody there to regulate what they're doing."
As part of its campaign, the RCMP has printed posters featuring Spanevello's smiling face juxtaposed against the slogan: "the agony of ecstasy ... the end of a life."
There's also a link to "Erin's Story," as written by her mother, on the RCMP website.
Erin had decided to pursue a career in graphic design and marketing, her mother wrote. She had also worked part-time as a model, which allowed her to travel to Austria, Italy, Germany and Brazil.
"She was 21 and I could see her becoming the great person she was destined to be."
Catherine Spanevello urged parents to educate themselves.
"One year ago I didn't even know the names of these chemicals. Through the loss of my daughter, Erin, I have discovered that we as parents and guardians have been blindsided by an insidious and lethal threat."
The RCMP website has more information about the dangers of Ecstasy and tips for parents. The link is http://drugawareness.bc.rcmp.gc.ca.
With files from CTV British Columbia's Maria Weisgarber