Something has to change, to stop the scourge of overdoses that is reaching epidemic levels, says Brad Beecroft.
His son, Ryelen Beecroft, 18, died last week of a suspected overdose.
“He was just a kid. He wasn’t a junkie. He wasn’t an addict. He was just a kid,” said Brad.
Ryelen, a Garibaldi secondary student, was found on the grounds of Golden Ears elementary last Wednesday. The cause of death is still being investigated by the coroner, with the assistance of the RCMP.
Brad couldn’t say for sure that it was fentanyl, but there were signs that it was an overdose that killed his son.
Brad had talked to his son the night before, on Tuesday, Aug. 16, just moments before his son went out to see a friend. Ryelen had just sold his car to an auto wrecker for $20 after buying it earlier for a few hundred dollars, with the hope of fixing it up and reselling it.
But the car was beyond repair, so Ryelen sold it, took the money and headed out for the evening at about 7:30 p.m.
“He was just going out to buy a pack of cigarettes and go see his buddy … then an hour later, he was dead.
“This was a kid that did something quick, and it killed him.”
Previous generations of kids would dabble in drugs, but they didn’t kill them, Brad added.
Toxicology tests haven’t yet been completed, so it can’t be said definitively that the cause of death was a fentanyl overdose.
Brad knows he’s not alone, that thousands of parents and their kids face the same dangers.
“We need to reconnect with our kids. Our lives are so spread out.”
Teens now need a place they can go in Maple Ridge where they can get help and support anonymously without involving the police.
“What about a place that a kid can go that he’s not judged?”
Since Ryelen’s death, Brad has talked to other teens facing the same challenges.
“I’ve reached out to them and said I’ve adopted you all.”
Brad talked with often with his son and said Ryelen passed that on advice about life to others, trying to help people wherever he could. But his son wouldn’t take his dad’s advice, he added.
Ryelen had a hole in his life and couldn’t talk to his dad about it, he added.
Brad added many parents don’t want to recognize their kids may be involved with drugs.
“We have kids who are going to be junkies. We have to stop that here. We have to stop it here. We have stop these dealers killing kids.
“If we can save one kid out there, it will be worth it.”
A service date has not yet been planned as the coroner’s investigation continues.
Meanwhile, a gofundme page has been set up by Brad’s brother, Scott Beecroft, to help with expenses.
Brad is grateful for the support he’s received from friends and family.
“My family and I would like to express our eternal gratitude to everyone for reaching out to us during this tragedy,” he said on the Ryelen Beecroft Memorial Page on Facebook.
“I know that Rye is looking down upon us all and feeling the love.
“The outpouring of support for his family and friends has been amazing … because he touched so many people in his life .
“He was an amazing son to me and his mother.”