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Victoria teen dies of suspected overdose

The family of an 18-year-old suspected to have died of a drug overdose on Thursday is calling for changes to policies and treatment options

By Nina Grossman
October 30, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Victoria teen dies of suspected overdose

The family of an 18-year-old suspected to have died of a drug overdose on Thursday is calling for changes to policies and treatment options

By Nina Grossman
Oct 30, 2022
Kylie Walker, 18, died of a drug overdose in Victoria on Thursday, according to her great uncle./ Supplied
Kylie Walker, 18, died of a drug overdose in Victoria on Thursday, according to her great uncle./ Supplied
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Victoria teen dies of suspected overdose

The family of an 18-year-old suspected to have died of a drug overdose on Thursday is calling for changes to policies and treatment options

By Nina Grossman
October 30, 2022
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Victoria teen dies of suspected overdose
Kylie Walker, 18, died of a drug overdose in Victoria on Thursday, according to her great uncle./ Supplied

A family member of a teen who is suspected to have died of an overdose in Victoria Thursday night says she needed access to long-term support.    

Kylie Walker, 18, died after taking drugs with other teens, said her great uncle, Joe Thorne, who lives in Duncan and is a member of Cowichan Tribes. He said several of the other teens were also hospitalized.

“We’ve got to change these policies on drugs,” Thorne said. “What we have is not working. The sad part is that it seems like we’re enabling them as they commit suicide, while we just watch.”

Thorne, a Cowichan Valley School District trustee, said his great niece was adventurous and “full of zest” until she started using drugs. He said she was briefly admitted to a short-term rehabilitation program last year and was doing well, but in the last few weeks had started drifting away from her family. 

“More follow up needs to happen,” Thorne said. “The wait is ridiculously long to get them into any kind of treatment.” 

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BC Coroners Service confirmed it is investigating a death in Victoria on Oct. 27. In an email the service said investigators are still early in the process of determining facts and cannot release information related to the identity of the deceased. 

Thorne said his great niece’s death is a reminder to parents to “hold your children close.” 

“Love your kids harder and always, always ask them if they are okay,” he said. “Investigate your child.”  

Walker’s mother has launched a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral expenses. 

“She was smart, funny, kind and such an amazing sister to her 8-year-old brother,” the campaign says. “We are so lost without her in our [lives.]” 

Island Health was unable to confirm if other teens had been hospitalized. In an illicit drug toxicity update released Oct. 12, the health authority said deaths from toxic drugs continue to increase across the province and the Island Health region. 

“The increasingly toxic drug supply and the effects of the pandemic on services and social connections are likely to be important contributors to this increase,” the notice said. 

Illicit drug poisonings are now the leading cause of death among adults in their 20s and 30s and the second leading cause of death in children and youth. 2021 was the deadliest year on record for illicit drug deaths. 

In September, Victoria-based drug checking service Substance tested 190 samples of opioid down and found unexpected active substances in 129 samples. 

Substance is entirely confidential and is open Monday to Saturday from 12pm to 7pm. Substance launched its location at Cook and North Park in March 2021 and spoke to Capital Daily that spring about its drug checking process. 

To prevent overdose, Island Health recommends carrying Naloxone and using with a buddy. Using small amounts and taking one drug at a time can also decrease the risk of overdose. If you suspect a person is overdosing, call 911 immediately. 

The National Overdose Response Service offers confidential non-judgemental support for people using drugs. The service can be reached at 1-888-688-6677. 

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Nina Grossman
Newsletter Editor
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