Mother of Overdosed Teen Tried to Get Help Before It Was Too Late

In Coquitlam, British Columbia, a teen died of a suspected overdose in a Starbucks bathroom. Her mother’s grief is amplified by the fact that she couldn’t afford to send the girl to rehab and the issue of public clinic waitlists being far too long.

Gwynevere Staddon, a 16-year-old who would have been entering Grade 12 this year, was found on Sunday by Starbucks employees. She was unresponsive, and could not be revived, said Port Moody police.

Although the B.C. Coroners Service has not yet determined the cause of Staddon’s death, her mother, Veronica Staddon, believes that it was an overdose caused by fentanyl.

According to Veronica Staddon, her daughter had been struggling with substance abuse, but had recently told her mother that she had stopped using. She had told her mother that her dealers were selling fentanyl, which was found with her in the Starbucks bathroom where her body was discovered.

“I’ve quit, so I’m OK now, Mum,” Veronica recalled hearing her daughter tell her. “It was calling out her name, and so she thought, ‘One more time.’ The one more time was the very last time.”

When Staddon looked into getting her daughter help, she found that public clinics required long waits, sometimes for months, and private clinics ran upwards of $50,000. This may not come as a surprise in Canada, where 47,000 deaths are linked to substance abuse every year.

Staddon had hoped that her daughter would be in the public eye, though certainly not under these circumstances. Gwynevere was a gymnastics instructor, and her mother said: “The whole world is missing out on a born entertainer … either that, or a future politician.”

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