Party drug blamed for teens' deaths
View attachment 13617 Friends of two Metro Vancouver teenagers who died within hours of each other early Tuesday blame the popular recreational drug ecstasy for their deaths.
Sixteen-year-old Kayla Lalonde of Vancouver died in hospital after she was found lying on Rumble Street in south Burnaby just before 1 a.m. A few hours later, her friend Martha Jackson Hernandez, 17, died several kilometres away in a Richmond hospital.
Neither girl showed signs of trauma, and police suspected alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two contributed to their deaths.
Results from toxicology tests are not expected for at least two weeks, police said.
Ecstasy, or MDMA, is an illegal street drug that can cause feelings of euphoria.
A friend of Hernandez's said he was worried about her when he couldn't reach her Monday night.
"She wasn't answering my texts," Stephen Cain said. "She wasn't answering my phone calls."
Other friends said the pair were partying the night before, drinking and using ecstasy, according to Cain. The drug use was out of character for the girls, he said.
"That's not like them to even want to do that kind of stuff. Sometimes we smoke some pot. But it never leads to this."
Ecstasy use common
One Vancouver addiction expert said he is afraid incidents like the deaths of the two teens will become more common. About 30 per cent of young people under 24 admit to having tried ecstasy, said Tom Hetherington, a manager at Pacific Community Resources Society in Vancouver.
"It can be very, very dangerous — even one-time use," Hetherington said.
"You've got people manufacturing drugs in their basement or their bedroom, mixing different types of drugs in a chemical process. [It's ] very easy to turn [into] something toxic."
RCMP in both the Burnaby and Richmond detachments are investigating the deaths.
Police said they would like to hear from anyone with information about where the teens were or the people they were with.
March 4, 2010
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