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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN BC: Teen May Have Had Death Wish
Title:CN BC: Teen May Have Had Death Wish
Published On:2012-01-19
Source:Province, The (CN BC)
Fetched On:2012-01-24 06:03:04

Friend Of Drug-Overdose Victim Kato Burgess Says Buddy 'Looked Really Bad'

Kato Burgess's best friend says Kato was bullied at school and may
have "wanted to die" before apparently taking a fatal overdose of ecstasy.

Kato, 16, started buying drugs from older teens in December and
staying up all night partying, said Matt Delaney, a close school friend.

According to Delaney, Kato last weekend "looked really bad. He had
been taking about 20 sleeping pills at a time. Like he would take the
whole bottle. His face was white, and his eyes were bloodshot.

"Everyone at school would pick on him, and in a way I kind of think he
wanted to die," Delaney said. "I wanted to save him, but I didn't know
how to do it. Now, it's too late."

Kato, a Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary student, died Sunday morning after
reportedly taking ecstasy along with other pharmaceuticals.

The B.C. Coroners Service says toxicology testing will determine
whether the ecstasy included PMMA, a toxic compound linked to at least
five deaths in B.C. in the past six months, along with several ecstasy
deaths in Alberta.

Delaney said Kato was troubled by a bro-ken home and had difficulty
adjusting after moving from Penticton several years ago.

The two used to hang out every day, Delaney said, playing hockey and
talking about starting a masonry company. But when Burgess started
buying drugs, Delaney had to "step away."

Surrey School District officials said they can't confirm any details
about Kato.

The victim's uncle, Adam Burgess of Penticton, said he hadn't seen him
much in the past year.

"He was a great kid," Adam Burgess said. "We used to go hiking all the
time. This is tough."

Drug counsellor Robb McGirr was speaking to classes at Surrey schools
on Wednesday.

McGirr, a former policeman, said experts have long told youth that
ecstasy pills are a dangerous cocktail of chemicals. But the toxicity
of the PMMA-linked pills is driving home a new sense of fear.

"We are not used to the fatalities, so we are on a new level, no
doubt," McGirr said. "The students are starting to get it - your
dealer will not even know what [a pill contains]."

Art Steinmann, manager of Vancouver schools' drug-abuse prevention
program, said a small number of the area's 25,000 students are known
to take ecstasy.

"The fact that there is bad 'E' out there is a big concern, and all of
our staff are engaged," Steinmann said.

He said counsellors strive to talk to youth as openly as possible
about the inherent risks of drugs, and parents should follow the same model.

"Tragic as these deaths are, these situations do give us an
opportunity for more dialogue," Steinmann said.

"We need to get at the root issues. These kids are not stupid. They
are trying to deal with things like isolation, hurt, loss. Some are
living in chaotic homes."
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