Pubdate: Mon, 27 Apr 2009
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 The Edmonton Journal
Authors: Elise Stolte and Laura Drake
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)


Teen Says Drug Use Rampant At Wem Underage Party; Friend Says 
14-Year-Old Victim Took Six Pills

By Elise Stolte and Laura Drake, The Edmonton Journal

Cassandra Williams' body was dying, even as the 14-year-old lay in 
her hospital bed, hooked up to life support.

An overdose of ecstasy Friday night shocked her small body so badly 
that her heart stopped beating in the middle of a West Edmonton Mall 
underage party. Paramedics restarted it and raced her to the Stollery 
Children's Hospital, but it failed again soon after.

As she faded Saturday afternoon, a nurse turned off the visual 
monitor, and her mother sat quietly by her side.

Soon, a nurse said it was over.

"All I said was, 'I know,' " said Angie Eyre, her mother. "They 
didn't have to tell me. I could feel it.

"Her body took over. They let her go on her own, really."

Another 14-year-old girl who was at Friday night's Rock 'n' Ride 
party, a monthly youth event at Galaxyland amusement park, said drug 
use was rampant.

"Security just doesn't realize that pretty much everyone is on 
ecstasy," she said.

Most teens stuff the drug down their shirt or their pants so it isn't 
found when they enter. Many girls walk around sucking on soothers, a 
telltale sign of ecstasy use.

The girl said everyone her age who goes to the mall knows if they 
want to get ecstasy, the dealers hang out in front of Circuit Circus. 
And if they don't know, they can learn in five minutes.

"People would come up to you and say, 'Hey, do you want E' or you 
could go up to anybody -- anybody -- around the area and find out."

A West Edmonton Mall spokesman would not comment Sunday.

Although Cassie and her best friend both took the ecstasy pills 
Friday night, her friend woke up in hospital and was talking Saturday.

Her friend said they both took six pills.

Cassie's parents believe the pills were triple strength, information 
Cassie's older sister got from friends who know the 16-year-old alleged dealer.

Cassandra, or Cassie as her friends called her, was an 
independent-minded girl who was into pink and images of skulls.

She was the "eyeliner queen," said her mother, cradling a recent 
school photo Sunday evening. She brushed her thumb against her daughter's chin.

It was a reshoot. Cassie wasn't satisfied with the first, and Eyre 
stayed up late the day before to help paint the bottoms of Cassie's hair pink.

If Cassie called in sick for school, it was only because she slept in 
too late to properly straighten her hair, Eyre said, smiling.

And they talked about drugs. Just last week, Cassie told her mother 
she would never take them.

"What, are you crazy?" she told her mother. "All that stuff will 
wreck my complexion."

"Why she took it, we'll never know," Eyre said Sunday.

The suspect was arrested downtown Saturday afternoon.

He passed out during the arrest but was in stable condition that evening.

The recent deaths have left many teens freaked out, said a Leduc 
mother, Sylvia, whose son, 14, was also at Rock 'n' Ride last Friday.

He was offered ecstasy, but an adult was with their group.

"West Edmonton Mall needs to step up and figure something else out," 
she said. "It's scary, way too scary. Young lives are snuffed out in 
an instant."

Thinking of the young victim's mother, she said, "it just sends a 
pang through my chest."

In Cassie's north-side home, her cellphone keeps ringing with text 
messages from friends who just can't believe she is really gone, said 
her mother.

A cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah played in the background as 
Cassie's sister searched for songs to play at her funeral. Cassie's 
niece toddled by, oblivious to the tragedy, and her cat played with a 
Journal photographer.

She's a tease, her mother said, just like Cassie was.

"Cassie took the drug, but now we have to live with it," said her 
stepfather, Guy Buehler. "They need more education on this. They need 
to be stricter on people who are selling it."

"How full of life she was," her mother said. "We just don't want 
anyone to forget what happened to her."
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