EDITORIAL: Heartfelt warning

Fewer messages hit home stronger than those rooted in a death, particularly that of a young person

Fewer messages hit home stronger than those rooted in a death, particularly that of a young person.

And the message delivered by the South Surrey family of 20-year-old Danika Koltai in recent days is no exception.

Danika – who played soccer on the Semiahmoo Peninsula as a teen, and was a popular employee at the Morgan Crossing Starbucks at the time of her death – died of a drug overdose Sept. 1 in Delta.

In a heart-wrenching Facebook post, her father Tom describes her passing as the result of “an accidental but deadly concoction of prescription and non-prescription” drugs.

Specifics of the circumstances surrounding Danika’s death have not been made public.

But her father emphasizes a point that perhaps not everyone considers when learning of such tragedies: that what happened to Danika could happen to anyone who uses drugs, regardless of stature, and regardless of whether they use on a regular basis, recreationally or “just this once.”

Overdoses are not a new occurrence by any stretch, but there is a stigma that accompanies them, one that pigeonholes the person who took the drugs as an addict, from a damaged family or who led a privileged life.

Danika, according to her father, was none of those. His daughter, just like her uncle who died under similar circumstances in 1972, was a middle-class kid who grew up in a middle-class neighbourhood with a middle-class family.

But like so many others before her who have overdosed – and there have been hundreds in B.C. this year already, with many linked to the deadly opioad fentanyl – a choice was made the night she died, one that brought consequences Danika likely never considered could ever happen to her.

Her older brother, who also reached out on Facebook, hopes that sharing what happened to Danika will give others who may be considering trying drugs pause.

This is a wakeup call,” he writes.

As Danika’s father states, “your own safety is a direct function of your chosen behaviours.”

How much stronger does the message need to be?

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

APRIL 1: Surrey’s two largest hotels close, BC Hydro offers bill credit

Claiming she has COVID-19, stranger coughs in Cloverdale woman’s face

Clayton Heights woman will now self-isolate for the next two weeks

White Rock/South Surrey experts launch website of mental-health resources

Together White Rock/South Surrey aims to help ease the search for supports

Surrey’s two largest hotels are now closed due to COVID-19; room bookings plummet elsewhere

Guildford’s 77-room Four Points property remains open with ‘minimum amount of business,’ GM says

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

VIDEO: Dog missing in Lower Mainland since winter sees his family again for the first time

Aldergrove helped find Buster, says dad, who has now witnessed ‘the power of social media’

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Most Read

l -->