At inquest into son's death, Oak Bay father describes family in crisis
Elliot Eurchuk in an undated family photo. The 16-year-old died at his home after taking street drugs his parents believe he was using to help him sleep. They say his drug use started after he was prescribed opioids following surgical procedures. (The Canadian Press)
Brock Eurchuk told the jury at the inquest into his son's death that the teen would rarely lower his guard when questioned about his drug use.
Elliot Eurchuk's father admitted that his own knowledge of drugs was weak. When Brock spoke of Elliot's drug use, he spoke of an earlier overdose when Elliot had to be revived.
"I suspected he had taken something that was quite powerful," Brock told the coroner's inquest into 16-year-old Elliot's death on April 20 last year. "I didn’t know what he took other than it must have been an opioid."
While on a hike with his son after the overdose, the Oak Bay father revealed that he spoke with his son about the dangers of street drugs.
They talked about how street drugs could be tainted with fentanyl. Brock told the jury that Elliot was "pissed off" about the overdose because he had purchased the drugs from a person he had bought drugs from before.
Elliot told his father the drug was not what he understood he was buying. Brock said that was one of the only times his son "lowered his guard" about his drug use.
"We were a family in crisis," Rachel Staples, Elliot's mother, told CTV News Tuesday.
"We were seeking answers – treatment plans that were hopefully going to result in Elliot recognizing that he had a problem. Elliot had a substance-use disorder, and as part of that disorder there is the denial and the physicians should have recognized he was not going to be a willing participant."
Brock told the jury that after his son suffered a shoulder injury, Brock asked the doctor for a non-opioid painkiller.
He said his wife thought that the first dose of opiates Elliot was prescribed was too heavy, later admitting that he dispensed the medication to Elliot out of his closet.
In February 2018, Elliot was admitted to hospital under the Mental Health Act.
Brock told the inquiry about following his son to the hospital in a police cruiser. He said the family “was in a desperate situation.”
When Elliot was discharged from the hospital, the family was presented with a "care and safety plan," Brock said.
Part of the plan was that all drugs in the home were to be locked away. Another part of the plan was that the family would continue with counselling and that Elliot would see an addictions specialist.
A month prior to Elliot’s death, his parents were struggling for answers as to why their son still seemed disengaged from school and famly.
The inquest continues in Victoria Wednesday.