British Columbia

Jury recommends more treatment facilities, earlier detection after Eurchuk inquest

A jury has made recommendations at the coroner's inquest into the overdose death last year of 16-year-old Elliot Eurchuk.

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died of a drug overdose in April 2018

Rachel Staples and Brock Eurchuk after the coroner's inquest into the death of their son, Elliot Eurchuk. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

A jury has made several recommendations following a coroner's inquest into the overdose death last year of 16-year-old Elliot Eurchuk.

Eurchuk, a Victoria-area teen, was found unresponsive in his bedroom on April 20, 2018. He died of an illicit drug overdose.

The B.C. Coroners Service called for the inquest saying the public has an interest in hearing the circumstances of the teen's death, and that a jury would have the opportunity to make recommendations to prevent similar deaths.

The eight-day inquest heard from more than 40 witnesses, including Eurchuk's parents and experts like Dr. Perry Kendall, B.C.'s former provincial health officer.

16-year-old Elliot Eurchuk was found unresponsive in his bedroom on April 20, 2018. (The Canadian Press/Rachel Staples)

The jury began deliberations Thursday morning and presented their recommendations in the afternoon.

To the Minister of Education, the jury recommended:

  • Developing processes for early detection of mental health and substance use disorders within schools. 
  • Developing a plan to transition youth from acute care and addiction treatment facilities to school.
  • Providing education to students, parents or guardians, teachers and administrators on mental health and substance use disorders.

To the Minister of Health, the jury recommended:

  • Developing a plan to transition youth from health care facilities back to community based services.
  • Streamlining available youth residential substance use disorder treatment beds and youth mental health care beds within British Columbia.
  • Providing youth with more long term residential substance use disorder treatment facilities throughout British Columbia.

Finally, the jury recommended that the Vancouver Island Health Authority provide youth with long-term residential substance use disorder treatment facilities on Vancouver Island.

'The clock is ticking'

Elliot's parents Brock Eurchuk and Rachel Staples complimented the jury's recommendations and said the changes are urgently needed.

"The ideas are good that the jury has come up with today, but there is a lot of work to do and that work is only going to get done with pressure," Brock Eurchuk said. 

"The clock is ticking."

Eurchuk and Staples added they had hoped to see something in the recommendations around secure care for individuals with severe substance use disorders. Secure care provides intense treatment to the individual in a tightly restricted environment even if it's against the patient's will. 

"Parents [need] to get access to their vulnerable children's health care information and help direct their health care ... these aren't really difficult concepts to follow," Eurchuk said. 

According to the B.C. Coroner's Service, the presiding coroner will add his comments in writing in the weeks ahead and will then issue recommendation letters specifically to each agency.

With files from the Canadian Press

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now