Pubdate: Mon, 18 Oct 2004
Source: Sault Star, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 The Sault Star
Author: Brian Kelly
Bookmark: (Oxycontin/Oxycodone)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Local News - Students across Algoma are being warned not to take pills 
offered to them after two Timmins teenagers died from suspected drug 
overdoes late last week.

"It could have happened in our community," said Mario Turco, Algoma 
District School Board director of education, on Sunday.

"It may still happen in our community."

Daniel Drouin, 19, and Andrew Tessier, 17, are believed to have died after 
taking OxyContin. The pills contained time-released morphine.

Timmins Police Service says the drug may have been distributed to as many 
as three schools in the city of 44,000 people.

Edward Oursien, 18, has been charged with two counts of manslaughter. He 
was at Roland Michener Secondary School, the same school Tessier attended. 
Oursien will appear in court today for a bail hearing.

Turco and Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board director of 
education Cecile Somme e-mailed news of the drug-related deaths to their 
staff on the weekend.

Turco said he wants elementary and high school teachers to remind students 
about the dangers of drugs and not to accept pills from others. "Maybe some 
good can come of this tragic accident because we don't want that to happen 
to our kids," he said.

Students at both boards are being urged to hand in any such pills they may 
have, with no fear of punishment, to adults they feel comfortable 
approaching such as a parent, teacher or other school staff member.

"We're not interested in getting kids in trouble," said Turco. "We're 
interested in eliminating this problem."

Turco and Somme said they have received no reports of OxyContin use in 
their schools.

"This is certainly scary. It's really tragic," said Somme.

While young drug-users may be thought of as "streetwise," she said, "naive 
students" could take the drug "not realizing something like this could be 
so harmful."

"What a wake-up call this is," said Turco.

"We have to, as a community, rise up against this insidious evil in our 
society. It just sickens me that it takes death to really bring home how 
serious this is."

On Thursday, a student at W.C. Eaket Secondary School in Blind River 
consumed a red pill he found at the school. The teenager said the pill 
"made him feel ill," said Const. Eric Keenan of Ontario Provincial Police's 
East Algoma detachment. The pill bore some resemblance to OxyContin 
"however there were some small discrepancies," he added.

Two students, including the one who took the pill, relayed the incident to 
a school counsellor after the school's principal informed students of the 
deaths in Timmins Friday afternoon.

"If it's a child that finds (a pill) we tell them not even to touch it," 
said Keenan. "Notify an adult and they can dispose of it."

Turco said he was unaware of the Blind River incident.

Sault Ste. Marie Police Service representatives were among the featured 
speakers at a public board school council workshop held Saturday at Central 
Algoma Secondary School. Their topic -- drugs and alcohol and your child.
- ---