The epidemic of senseless overdoses is taking too many lives, and the spread of fentanyl has exacerbated this crisis. Just a small amount of this powerful synthetic drug can be lethal; it causes heart failure and halts breathing almost completely in its victims. We must take swift action to curb these preventable tragedies before more innocent people are taken from us prematurely.

A sixteen-year-old, Gwynevere Staddon, was tragically discovered unresponsive in a Port Moody Starbucks restroom. According to Global News, an employee at the location made the discovery and alerted authorities immediately. However, despite medics arriving swiftly on the scene with all their resources available – sadly they were unable to revive her from what is suspected as a drug overdose.

In the course of their rescue mission, first responders identified that Staddon had an addiction to narcotics. On her person were a few drugs as well as tools used to ingest them.

Veronica’s heart is broken as she grieves the sudden and devastating death of her teenage daughter. She believes that it was caused by an overdose of fentanyl, firmly claiming that “it had to be” the synthetic drug that led to this tragedy in their local community.

“My best friend, my daughter, my sweetheart baby … I will never stop missing you,” the mom posted on Facebook. “My heart won’t stop breaking.”

Veronica was well aware that her daughter struggled with addiction for years, although she was still a teenager. Before passing away, however, she had confided in her mother that – at the very least – it had been three weeks since using drugs.

“I’ve quit, so I’m OK now, Mom,” Veronica nostalgically remembered Gwynevere’s words. “It was calling out her name, and so she thought, ‘One more time.’ The one more time was the very last time.”

Veronica was desperate to get her daughter into a rehab center, but there were no feasible options in sight – public clinics had an unbearable waitlist while the private facilities were financially out of reach. Sadly, before she could acquire help for Staddon at either facility, Veronica lost her daughter to a suspected overdose.

“If I don’t have $50,000 available, then they are not something I can use as a resource,” she said. “The whole world is missing out on a born entertainer. Either that or a future politician.”

Veronica is passionate about making our country safer by removing drug dealers from the streets, as well as increasing access to rehabilitation resources. President Biden and Congress have an incredible opportunity to invest in rehab facilities that will help us overcome the opioid crisis which has proved incredibly destructive for America. It’s time we move toward a future of hope, healing, and sobriety!

It is devastating that Gwynevere Staddon passed away at such a fragile age. Her mother wishes to share her journey in order to bring to light the risks of fentanyl, and also make rehabilitation centers more accessible for those who are struggling with addiction. Let’s unite as one society to guarantee this heartbreaking event will never happen again.

We must pay homage to Gwynevere Staddon by investing in rehabilitation resources so that those suffering from opioid addiction can receive the treatment they need. Furthermore, we have a duty to ensure drug dealers are held accountable for their crimes and reduce the supply of opioids on our streets. Together, these measures will bring us closer to defeating this epidemic and honoring Gwynevere’s legacy.