The shy and athletic 16-year-old Eliot Eurchuk died from an overdose last year.

“He was testing positive for opiates but that wasn’t brought to our attention,” said Brock Eurchuk.

After several sports injuries, Elliot became addicted to opioids, but his parents didn’t know.

Provincial legislation blocked his doctor’s from telling his family about his drug addiction.

His father, Brock, found Elliot dead, with a fatal mix of fentanyl, cocaine, and meth in his system last April.

“That was 434 days ago. It’s time to move on this,” said Brock.

The recent inquest into Elliot’s death made a series of recommendations for B.C.’s Ministry of Health:

  • Transitioning youth suffering from substance abuse from hospitals into the community
  • Streamlining youth access to residential substance abuse treatments centers
  • Create more long term substance abuse treatment facilities for youth.
But Elliot’s parents are disappointed there were no recommendations for legislative changes to give parents more power.

“We do urge the government at this point to take a serious look at amending the Infants Care Act,” said Rachel Staples, Elliot’s mom.

“And looking at an option of secure care for children who are clearly not able to make that decision for themselves.”

And a pediatric doctor agrees that saving a life should trump privacy.

“I believe it’s not good practice to fail to inform probably their strongest support networks,” said Tom Warshawski, with the B.C. Pediatric Society.

“I have watched the province do very little on this file for the last year and a half, and I’m very concerned the province will continue to do very little.”

But the province says they remain committed to reform.

“We have to continue making improvements,” said BC Minister of Health, Adrian Dix.

“The circumstances in this case, should demonstrate the need for the health care system to be better, and for us all to do better.”

And while it’s too late for Elliot, his parents will continue to fight so no other family has to through a loss like theirs.

“Twenty-four children each year are dying under the same circumstances. That’s almost a busload of kids dying every year. That is not ok. That should not be ok,” said Staples.

Right now, the Eurchuk family is remembering their own son. The shy, kind boy – a light, snuffed out much too soon.

Kori Sidaway