Edmonton

Edmonton school tries to protect students after overdose hits close to home

'You're playing Russian roulette,' school resource officer warns high school students

'It's a different world now' 1:52

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Calum Whytock was 18 when he drank codeine laced with carfentanil at a house party in April and died within seconds.

His mother, Mioara Whytock, remembers visiting his building that night to find flashing lights and a police officer running into her son's apartment.

"He was dead already," she said about her only child.

"I miss him so much I can't breathe sometimes ... I loved him with all my heart."

mioara whytock

Mioara Whytock's son, Calum Whytock, died of a carfentanil overdose in April. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

Whytock joined students at Mother Margaret Mary High School on Tuesday for a drug-safety presentation by two school resource officers.

Her son graduated from the school in spring of 2016.

The Edmonton high school is trying to protect students from deadly opioids that have killed hundreds of Albertans in recent years.

As the officers talked about her son, Whytock sobbed in the crowd. She had planned to share Calum's story, but said she couldn't bring herself to do so.

Calum Whytock

Calum Whytock overdosed on carfentanil in April 2017. (Edmonton Catholic Schools)

"I would have told them, trust your parents," she said to CBC News after the event. "If you have a problem, go to them and tell them. They're going to do everything to help you.

"I would have done everything, everything for my son. I would have given my life for him just to help him."

'You're playing Russian roulette' 

Const. Brandon Myhre, the school's resource officer, keeps a framed photograph of Calum Whytock in his office.

Myhre said every weekend he worries another student will overdose on fentanyl or carfentanil. 

"I treat these kids as my own children, so I can't even imagine how I would feel if that was to happen," Myhre said.

Brandon Myhre

Const. Brandon Myhre is the school resource officer at the Mother Margaret Mary High School in Edmonton. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

During Tuesday's presentation, he asked those who knew Whytock to stand. Dozens of students and teachers rose from their seats.

"It's a different world now," Myhre said. "You're playing Russian roulette. "Our street drugs have been laced with fentanyl, and people, for the first time of going and doing drugs, are dying."

Nearly 1,000 people in Alberta have died from fentanyl-related overdoses in the past six years, according to Alberta Health statistics. 

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