Inquiry called into death at drug treatment centre

The mother of a 17-year-old who was battling drug addiction and died after seeking treatment following a relapse hopes an upcoming fatality inquiry provides much-needed answers.

The mother of a 17-year-old who was battling drug addiction and died after seeking treatment following a relapse hopes an upcoming fatality inquiry provides much-needed answers.

Taylor Argent of Red Deer died in an Edmonton hospital on April 2, 2007, three days after trying crack cocaine for the first time.

The teen was at a private rehabilitation centre, where he had been previously treated, when he was found unresponsive and taken to hospital.

Kim Argent said the family has been waiting for a fatality inquiry since her son died. The Argents hope the judge overseeing the inquiry will recommend changes that could spare other families the same grief.

The two-day inquiry is scheduled to start on Tuesday in Red Deer provincial court and will be heard by Judge Jim Hunter.

Argent said she and husband Mike first got word a fatality inquiry had been set about six months ago, but had no idea of the shock that was to come. After largely fruitless efforts to get more information about her son’s death, three months ago she finally received a binder from the Crown prosecutor that stunned her.

The documents within painted a much different picture of her son’s last hours than she had been told previously.

“What we were told and what really happened were two different things,” she said. “So we would like the truth to come out.

“Definitely there are concerns we want to come out, and be solved, and to stop this from happening to someone else’s child too.”

The Argents have started a foundation to help families facing similar ordeals and have raised more than $100,000 to provide financial aid to those on long waiting lists for government-funded treatment programs, to gain the immediate help that can be provided through private programs. These can be prohibitively expensive for some. The foundation also raises awareness about addiction and offers information on how to choose a treatment centre.

An annual silent auction, dinner and dance serves as a fundraiser for the Taylor Argent Legacy Foundation.

This year’s event is set for Nov. 12 at the Red Deer Lodge. For information, go to www.taylorargentlegacyfoundation.org

Under the Fatality Inquiries Act, accidental deaths and deaths resulting from the use or abuse of alcohol and drugs are subject to an inquiry.

The inquiry determines the identity of the deceased, the date, time and place of death, and the circumstances of death.

Once the inquiry is complete, the judge provides a written report.

The judge may make recommendations for the prevention of similar incidents, but can’t make any findings of legal responsibility.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com