Operation X police video warns of ecstasy use

Familes and friends of Cheryl McCormack and Tyler Miller of Abbotsford talk about the pain of their deaths.

Laurie Mossey is surrounded by the friends of her son

Laurie Mossey is surrounded by the friends of her son



The panicked female caller tells the 911 operator that her friend is not responding and her mouth is clenched shut.

“I think she’s overdosing,” she says frantically.

“On what?”

“MDMA … It’s ecstasy … I’m really scared right now.”

The opening scene of the Abbotsford Police’s latest initiative, a video called Operation X, features the actual tape of a call made to 911 in the early morning of Dec. 20, 2011.

The call was placed by a close friend of 17-year-old Cheryl McCormack of Abbotsford. The two were among four girls at a sleep-over when Cheryl took ecstasy.

Following the 911 call, she was rushed to hospital, where she died two days later.

That tragedy, as well as the ecstasy death of 20-year-old Tyler Miller of Abbotsford on Nov. 27, 2011, motivated police to create a message they could share with young people about the dangers of using the drug.

The video has been presented at several Abbotsford high schools, including a showing on Tuesday at Abbotsford School of the Integrated Arts.

Operation X features interviews with three of Cheryl’s friends, her sister Shawna, her mom Cathy, Tyler’s mom Laurie Mossey and his dad Russ Miller.

Most were on hand at the showing on Tuesday, along with five of Tyler’s friends, and they spoke to the students about the impact the deaths have had on them.

“No one should know the heartbreak that all of us are going through,” said Lauren Miller, a friend of Cheryl’s.

Josh William cried as he read a poem he wrote to commemorate the six-month anniversary of Tyler’s death.

After the presentation, both moms said that although it has been difficult to speak publicly about the tragedies, they participated in the project in hopes of preventing other families from going through the same thing.

“It’s a tool, a way of saying, ‘I’m a typical mom and this could happen to you. You’ll never be the same,’ ” Cathy said.

Laurie quoted a message that she found on her son’s Facebook page after he died.

“It said, ‘I’m not scared of dying. I’m scared of not leaving a legacy.’ And so I’m doing that for him.”

Shawna said she believes the presentations are having an impact among young people, who often cry during the showing of the video.

One student told her afterwards that he had also lost a friend, and passed on a cross that had been given to him after the death. Another student asked the group to participate in a drug intervention for a friend of his.

“It’s hard (to do the presentations) but hearing the reactions makes it worthwhile for us because we know we’re saving some people,” Shawna said.

The video will not be released to the public until the high school presentations are completed.