British Columbia·Video

Gwynevere Staddon's death, likely from fentanyl overdose, could have been prevented, mourners say

​Gwynevere Staddon should be getting ready to start Grade 12 this week, say mourners who gather to remember the teenager who died of a suspected fentanyl overdose three weeks ago in the washroom of a Port Moody, B.C., Starbucks.

'She knew the dangers, but she was 16 and felt invincible and didn't think things through'

Mourners at Gwynevere Staddon's funeral says her death could have been preventable

5 years ago
2:56
Staddon died of a suspected fentanyl overdose in the washroom of a Port Moody, B.C., Starbucks. 2:56

Gwynevere Staddon should be getting ready to start Grade 12 this week, said mourners who gathered Tuesday evening to remember the teenager.

Staddon died of a suspected fentanyl overdose three weeks ago in the washroom of a Port Moody, B.C., Starbucks.

Instead, Staddon's friends and family filed into a Coquitlam church to attend her funeral.

"She knew the dangers, but she was 16 and felt invincible and didn't think things through," said family friend Shelly Herron, who read aloud the eulogy written by Gwynevere's mother, Veronica Staddon.

Gwynevere Staddon, 16, pictured here with her mother, Veronica Staddon. Staddon tried to find a youth addiction treatment bed for her daughter. (Veronica Staddon)

"We cuddled almost every night of her life, including the night before this horrible tragedy," Herron told mourners at Coquitlam Alliance Church.

More than 250 people gathered to share their sorrow and frustration.

People close to Gwynevere say there is little doubt illicit fentanyl took her life.

"How do we say goodbye to such a young girl … who do we blame?" asked Barb Fraser, Staddon's former gymnastics coach.

 "We have a crazy cruel world our children are growing up in," Fraser said, her voice shaking.

Teens were asked to 'think deeply" before using drugs at funeral to remember Gwynevere Staddon, 16. (CBC)

"The most important thing this tragedy can bring is to save another youth."

Staddon was remembered as a born entertainer, comedian, and gymnast who grew addicted to a powerful drug that is expected to kill hundreds in B.C. this year.

In recent months, Veronica Staddon desperately tried to find help for her daughter, but she discovered waits for a publicly funded bed were several months long, and she could not afford private rehabilitation fees, which ran as high as $50,000.

Gwynevere Staddon's boyfriend, Nick Jansen, seen here with his mother Michelle, is grieving the second loss of a loved one to overdose in five months after losing his brother Brandon to a fentanyl overdose in March. (CBC)

Other family members and close friends say they were worried about the teen's addiction but say she hid her problem from most people and believed she was immune to a deadly overdose.

But on Aug. 7, paramedics could not revive the teen after she was found in the washroom of a Starbucks.

Among the mourners was Gwynevere's boyfriend, Nick Jansen, 19, and his mother, Michelle Jansen.

2nd fentanyl-related funeral

For the Jansens, this is the second fentanyl-related funeral in just five months. Michelle Jansen's other son Brandon, 20, died of a fentanyl overdose in March.

"Gwynevere was here … she sat with the family, and she saw the devastation, and she saw how easily it can happen … and it still wasn't enough," said Michelle Jansen. 

​She added it's heartbreaking both funerals were held at the same church and that both died needlessly.

Staddon's family pleaded with mourners — especially the teenagers in attendance — to think hard before they experiment with the deadly drug.

The family believes Gwynevere's overdose was unintentional and could have been prevented if treatment had been available when she needed it.


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