Parents organized committee to address drug abuse at Oak Bay High School months before overdose death of teen


WATCH: Months before the overdose death of an Oak Bay High School student last week, concerned parents formed a committee to respond to drug use connected with the school and they’re hoping to make some changes to prevent further tragedies.  Mary Griffin has more.

Life goes on at Oak Bay High School four days after Grade 11 student Elliott Eurchuk died of an unintentional overdose.

But before his death, parents were already concerned about students abusing drugs, according to Oak Bay parent Gabriela Hirt.

“There were a few overdoses, mostly by Xanax. We heard about that from other parents, from students, and also our principal.”

In the fall, a student overdosed on counterfeit Xanax while at school. At the same time, a number of Grade nine and 10 students overdosed at parties.  S

So Hirt, along with other parents, recognized a drug problem with the school and formed a committee earlier this year, the Oak Bay High Wellness and Health Committee.

“There seemed to be a real need for parents to come together, and share their stories. But also the PAC [parent advisory  decided we should, you know, be proactive. See if there is maybe, some ways you know, to prevent tragedies,” Hirt said.

On Saturday, Elliott’s parents, Rachel Staples and Brock Eurchuk, spoke with CHEK News.

“We want Elliott’s memory to be more about who he was as opposed to the circumstances surrounding his death,” said Brock.

They described him as an athletic, kind boy. But an addiction to prescribed opioids developed after four surgeries last year. He died at home after taking street drugs they believe he used to help him sleep.

According to Hirt, the focus of the committee is to work with the school, and the greater community to address issues affecting students.

“What we really wanted the school to do, and what ended up happening is inform the parents. Up front, and clear what has happened, and what the concerns are,” Hirt said.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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