14-year-old dies of suspected drug poisoning on Vancouver Island: RCMP

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Campbell River, B.C., is pictured in 2019. RCMP are investigating after a 14-year-old died of a suspected drug overdose on Saturday. (Shutterstock / EB Adventure Photography - image credit)
Campbell River, B.C., is pictured in 2019. RCMP are investigating after a 14-year-old died of a suspected drug overdose on Saturday. (Shutterstock / EB Adventure Photography - image credit)

RCMP are investigating after a 14-year-old boy died of a suspected drug overdose in Campbell River, B.C.

A statement said the teen died Saturday afternoon.

"Our hearts go out to the family of the young man that was lost," Const. Maury Tyre said.

Police said they would not be releasing any further details.

An average of five people are dying of an overdose every day in B.C., according to the coroners service. As of April 29, four people under the age of 19 had died this year as a result of illicit drugs.

Allayah Thomas, 12, was believed to be the youngest victim of the overdose crisis when she died in Victoria on April 14. Her mother said she had previously experienced three overdoses before her death but had been turned away from rehab because she wasn't yet 14.

The children's ministry would not comment directly on Thomas's case, but age requirements for support can be waived. A statement said there are a number of treatment options available for youth, including 25 youth treatment beds on Vancouver Island, walk-in treatment at hospitals or urgent primary care centres and community-based services.

More than 7,000 people have died from toxic drugs since officials declared a public health emergency in 2016.

Youth overdose deaths have tended to rise and fall in line with overall deaths. Since 2016, those under 19 have comprised a steady one or two per cent of total illicit overdose deaths in B.C.

The BC Coroners Service said it was still investigating the official cause of Thomas's death. The youngest confirmed overdose death in the ongoing opioid crisis was a 13-year-old who died in 2017.

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