Kamilah Sword’s father says missing a year of school during the pandemic was difficult for her, and her anxiety meant she had trouble fitting in.
“Her and her friends didn’t really fit in. They would go to school but not attend classes,” recalled Greg Sword. “They were skipping all the time.”
He says Kamilah, 13, started taking drugs like Dilaudid to cope.
But while her father sensed a change, he didn’t know how serious the situation was.
“I got blindsided. I was naive,” said Sword. “I didn’t understand what drugs were in the system. And I didn’t understand how easy it was for these girls to get.”
B.C. MLA Elenore Sturko says it’s too easy for young people like Kamilah to get Dilaudid, the drug given to opioid users most at risk of overdose.
“They can get it over Reddit. They can get it on Snapchat,” said Sturko.
“This all comes from the frontline.”
Since the pandemic, some on the province’s safe supply program have been given the pills to use at home, unwitnessed.
Dr. Mark Mallet said no one is tracking the thousands of diverted Dilaudid pills handed out every day.
“There is widespread acceptance that these pills are being diverted. Certainly, some of the pills that are being handed out are being sold,” said Mallet.
CHEK News went to downtown Victoria to see how easy it actually is and was able to obtain Dilaudid within minutes. As a result of testing by Substance UVic, it’s indicated that those pills obtained by CHEK News are Dilaudid.
Now there is a push for change and for the province to start tracking where these pills end up.
“We brought forward the concerns about people potentially diverting their hydromorphone when they receive a take-home quantity. That the government absolutely denied,” said Sturko.
“They said that that wasn’t happening. That safe supply wasn’t being diverted to the street.”
Kamilah overdosed and died in August 2022.
“She would do anything to make her friends happy. Make them laugh. Be there when they need her. She was just a joy,” added Sword.
A joy that is now gone.
The ministry says it’s heard from parents and is preparing a report to look at possible changes to the program.