A Victoria mother whose daughter died of a fentanyl overdose says the mental health system is broken and needs fixing.
“She had tons of aunts and uncles, and close family friends and parents who were also desperate to help her, and yet, somehow the system kept blocking us.”
Lorraine Forster says her daughter Bria Magnin-Forster was raised in a loving home, played piano and took ballet lessons and did well in school, before suffering from an eating disorder and depression.
She says Bria didn’t receive the supports she needed, and became addicted to heroin.
She was found dead of a fentanyl overdose in a New Westminster homeless shelter last month at the age of 30.
“The fact that this was linked to fentanyl, to me that’s a side bar, the main story is the hideous inadequacies of our mental healthcare system, and also the protection to privacy act that doesn’t let loving caring family members try to help their loved one.”
Forster says when Bria turned 19, she was blocked from obtaining or sharing her daughter’s medical information due to privacy.
“She had called me in a panic, she was half naked on a street corner with nothing but a sweater on. She off all of her own hair. I took her to a detox centre. I went home I got some clothes, I brought some clothes, I said here, I’m here to drop these off for Bria, and they simply said to me, well we can neither confirm nor deny that your daughter is here. It was that level of blocking of parents from trying to help.”
On Thursday 80 stakeholders including health officials and law enforcement will meet to discuss BC’s response to the overdose crisis that has already claimed more than 250 lives this year.
The daylong meeting will take place at the BC Centre for Disease control.
They will examine the overdose situation in B.C and review the provincial response to date.
Experts from Network for Excellence in Substance Dependence and Related Harms, Coroners Service, WorkSafe BC, health, law enforcement, professional colleges (Physicians and surgeons and pharmacy), persons who use drugs, representatives of parent groups, Health Canada, PHAC and representatives from Alberta Health will be attending.