Thought he'd beat the drugs

Oak Bay teen Elliot Eurchuk, who died from a drug overdose, believed he had control of his street-drug use and could prevent dependancy and withdrawal, half-sister Sydney Eurchuk told a coroner’s inquest Tuesday.

“He did communicate to me, so he thought, that he had mastered a system where he was able to take the right amount and not take it often enough to experience active addiction and manage withdrawal,” said Eurchuk “He definitely thought he was in control.”

Mother Rachel Staples and father Brock Eurchuk found Elliot, 16, unresponsive in his bed on the morning of April 20, 2018. He was later found to have died from a drug overdose; a high concentration of fentanyl mixed with heroin and methamphetamine was found in his body, along with heroin.

Sydney Eurchuk, 29, whose father is Brock Eurchuk, testified she was part of a blended family when Elliot was younger. She later kept in loose contact with him, but “reconnected” after she heard Elliot had overdosed on drugs while in hospital for a blood infection.

She told the inquest her half-brother said “my drug of choice is opioids” and got some of his drugs on the dark web or made his own. He told her he never sold drugs at school and never to other people. Her half brother explained he was more of a middle man on one or two occasions, connecting larger-quantity sellers with smaller sellers, she said. “He never sold drugs to people directly.”

Eurchuk said she concluded through their conversations that Elliot had hardened to his lot in life but was not suicidal and had plans for the future including to live with a friend — who the inquest heard last week was dependant on opioids — buy a camper van to travel across Canada, and attend medical school.

“I think he considered himself as a martyr,” she said. “To his friends and his friend community he expressed a lot of care but he didn’t have an attitude of self care or an ability to receive love.”

Eurchuk told the inquest, over a speaker phone, that she tried to be a healthy, loving, trustworthy adult friend “because I inferred that he didn’t have that figure in his life at that time.”

On Tuesday, presiding coroner Michael Egilson and a five-person jury were in the seventh day of hearing testimony. The jurors will be asked to make recommendations to prevent similar deaths.

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