#2 Fentanyl finds its way into the Sea to Sky

B.C.’s opioid crisis found its way into the Sea to Sky Corridor, and Squamish was not untouched.

Locally, the most high-profile case was that of Steffanie Lawrence, who died at the beginning of the year. She was just 15 years old.

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Her death provided the catalyst for a provincewide debate on whether reforms should be instituted for the treatment of people affected by addiction.

One of the most poignant details was the fact that prior to her death, Lawrence had been checked into hospital involuntarily, yet released within just an hour of her arrival, her mother Brenda Doherty told The Chief.

This revelation sparked calls for regulations that would give parents greater power to commit their children to hospital against their will in cases where a child’s safety is in question.

Lawrence’s death reverberated at the highest levels of provincial government.

Brenda Doherty (and husband Andrew) with a photo wall of Doherty’s daughter Steffanie Lawrence, who died of an accidental fentanyl overdose Jan 22. - David Buzzard

Judy Darcy, the minister responsible for mental health and addictions, promised she would look into the matter.

Sadly, Lawrence’s death was not the only death that rocked the community. There were several.

Nicklaus Ogborne, 28, died on Aug. 22 due to an opioid overdose

Ogborne loved kiteboarding, biking, and hiking, but he was also a successful businessman, his mother said. He installed drive-thru apparatus with a team he put together, she told The Chief.

There was also a report of a 33-year-old man who was found unresponsive in a bathroom.

As of the most recent coroners report at press time, 30 people have died from overdoses between January and September this year in the North Shore/Coast Garibaldi health region.

That area includes the Sea to Sky, and along with it, Squamish.

In 2008, there were eight overdose deaths recorded for the region.

Taking the province as a whole, the numbers are far more dramatic.

As of September, 1,143 opioid deaths were recorded provincewide.

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