Grad 2018: Island Health officials urging parents, students to talk about drugs


WATCH: June is graduation month, and with grad comes parties that often include underage drinking and substance use. Ceilidh Millar reports. 

Picking out a dress for graduation is a memorable moment for most soon-to-be high school graduates.

“Shopping for a grad dress is a really fun experience,” said Alyssa Copes with Grad Central Dresses in Victoria. “It’s not something you get to do every day and there’s just so many different styles.”

Thousands of high school students will graduate this month across Vancouver Island.

With grad parties and other celebrations ramping up, so do the opportunities for underage drinking and substance use.

“Knowledge is of course very important in these situations,” explained Rob Fleming, the Vancouver Island Health Authority’s (Island Health’s) mental health and substance-Use co-ordinator.

Island Health officials want to remind parents, teachers and graduates of the dangers that come with illicit-drug use.

“Any illicit drugs on B.C. streets currently may have fentanyl,” Fleming said. “Fentanyl is a highly potent depressant that can lead to an overdose, loss of consciousness and possibly a loss of life.”

In 2017, 23 people in B.C. under the age of 18 died of an illicit-drug overdose.

The health authority says it’s important for soon-to-be graduates to know the risks and have a plan to ensure grad is a fun, memorable and safe experience.

“We recommend developing a safety plan before the grad event with a parent or a responsible adult who you feel comfortable contacting should you need to,” Fleming explained.

For grads, the health authority says a safety plan should include:

  • Making sure your cell phone is charged in case of an emergency.
  • Planning a safe ride home ? never get into a vehicle with someone who has used drugs or alcohol, and watching out for friends and getting help if someone is over-consuming.
  • Watching out for friends and getting help if someone is over-consuming.

For more information, visit the Island Health.

Ceilidh MillarCeilidh Millar

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!