Health

Teenager's Death From Fentanyl Sparks Community Outrage

| by John Freund

Canadian parents are looking for answers after a teenage girl from Ottawa overdosed on fentanyl after taking what she though was Percocet. When first responders arrived at the scene, they found the fentanyl-laced pills surrounding her body.

Chloe Kotval, 14, died after overdosing on the illegal drug fentanyl, the Ottawa Sun reports. Police think Kotval believed she was taking prescription Percocet, but the pills had been substituted for counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.

Dr. Isra Levy, Ottawa's chief medical officer, told the crowd of concerned parents that his team has been investigating the death and attempting to track the source of the fentanyl. The drug has been smuggled into Canada recently from China, and sold on the black market.  

“I wish that we had answers,” Levy said. “I wish we weren’t here.”

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Counselor Alan Hubley led an information session aimed at alerting residents of the dangers of fentanyl and the potential cures for an overdose.  

“The whole point of this is so parents can have an informed discussion with their children,” Hubley said “And then there’s enforcement, where if you know of someone who is dealing this, then report them before another child dies.”

Kotval was the second person to die in Ottawa this year from a fentanyl overdose, prompting a citywide panic. Chief Charles Bordeleau, called the deaths tragic, adding: “I feel terrible for the parents and the families and the entire community that’s going through this.”

Bordeleau added that if police can trace the fentanyl to specific drug traffickers, those individuals can face penalties much harsher than drug trafficking. 

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“We want to make sure parents and kids have the information at hand to recognize what to look for, but also what to do and what are the agencies out there that can provide them support to get off these (drugs),” he said. 

“Education about the dangers of these drugs, prevention, harm reduction and solid treatment programs are needed in order for us to tackle this issue in our community,” Bordeleau added. 

Kotval’s parents remembered their daughter’s sunny disposition in a statement, reports CBC News: 

Chloe had a spark of life in her that was pure sunshine. The hole left by the loss of our beautiful daughter will never be filled. Chloe made a horrible mistake and ultimately paid a dear price, but drugs were not a part of her life. We are concerned about the epidemic nature of the use of high grade pharmaceuticals amongst young people and their lack of knowledge about them -- the consequences of using them are real and terrible.

Police are looking at the best way to deploy naloxone, a drug that acts as an antidote to fentanyl, to officers and first responders who deal with overdose cases. Bordeleau has called on the province of Ontario to fund naloxone for every front-line officer.

Sources: Ottawa Sun, CBC News / Photo credit: Ottawa Sun

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