Quin Kurtz could prevent other overdose deaths, says Austin Padaric's mother

The mother of a Heidelberg teen who died following a house party in 2003 is advocating for more overdose awareness education in area high schools.

Christine Padaric wants Kurtz talk to teens about his manslaughter conviction

Austin Padaric was 17-years-old when he died in Quin Kurtz's apartment from a drug overdose. (Ozzies Update/Facebook)

The mother of a teen who died from a morphine overdose at an Elmira house party in 2003 says she hopes the man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter uses the experience to educate other young people.

"In my victim impact statement, I made it pretty clear to Quin (Kurtz) and to the judge that I'd really would like to see him focus on what he's done. He's already acknowledged his guilt so I'd really like to see him take that a step further and go public with it," Christine Padaric told The Morning Edition host Craig Norris on Friday.

Padaric's 17-year-old son Austin died on April 12, 2013, after taking morphine at a party on April 5 at Kurtz's apartment in Elmira, Ont.

Kurtz admitted to providing the morphine pills and crushing them up before the Heidelberg teen snorted the drug.

At around 3 a.m. the next morning, Padaric began to make strange breathing noises. At 6 a.m. he was running a fever.

But it wasn't until 11 a.m. that anyone called 911.

Padaric was rushed to hospital and put on life support, but died six days later.

Losing a son, it's a horrible thing.- Christine Padaric, mother of 17-year-old son who died of a morphine overdose

In September 2015, Kurtz pleaded guilty to manslaughter, production of a controlled substance and trafficking of a controlled substance.

'End of a chapter'

Kurtz was sentenced to two years less a day and three years probation in a Kitchener courtroom Thursday. He was also ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.

Padaric said the sentence was what her family was hoping for and she hopes Kurtz will turn his life around while serving time in a provincial jail.

"It's basically the end of a chapter for us on this case. It's been a long two and a half years and we're glad that it's over with," she said.

Kurtz could relate to teens

Since her son's death, Padaric has been advocating for overdose awareness education in area high schools.This will be the second year Grade 12 students at Elmira District Secondary School take a 70 minute class where they learn the basic signs and symptoms of an overdose and what to do if they suspect one.

"There's a lot of energy that can go into anger and resentment and I've chosen to take that and to funnel it more in a positive direction. There's a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of educating the public, especially teens, about drug use and what to do in an overdose situation," Padaric said.

She hopes Kurtz will consider telling his story to teens.

"Here's an example of someone who could make a real difference with, again, particularly with teens. I can talk all I want to groups of teens, but I'm still a 50-year-old woman. We need people at his age group that can directly relate to them," Christine Padaric said Friday.

"Quin Kurtz is a relatively young man. He's 23 at this point. He's got a long life ahead of him and I just hope he can get the help that he needs and be able to be a productive citizen."

Remembering Austin

In court Thursday, many of Austin's friends were there to support the family and Padaric said she was happy to see them because it means they remember her son.

"Losing a son, it's a horrible thing. Probably one of my biggest fears is forgetting my son, and I worry about others forgetting about him," she said. "It was really touching to see them there and showing their support for my husband and I and reminding us that they'll never forget about Austin."

Along with continuing her efforts to educate teens about the dangers of drug overdoses, Padaric said she plans to write a book, although she is unsure if it will be for the public or just herself.

"I want to document the memories that I have because they can so easily slip away," she said.


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.