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Montreal teen’s drowning death linked to high-sugar, alcoholic drinks: coroner

WATCH: A Quebec coroner has determined that 14-year-old Athena Gervais died of drowning and possible hypothermia following the excessive consumption of a sugary alcoholic drink. As Global's Dan Spector explains, the coroner made some recommendations regarding the regulation and marketing of these types of drinks.

Athena Gervais, 14, whose body was found in a stream behind her high school last March, had consumed the equivalent of 12 glasses of wine, according to a coroner’s report.

The document attributes her death to drowning and possible hypothermia. There were no signs of trauma.

READ MORE: Body of missing 14-year-old Laval teen found

In the official report, released Wednesday, findings show that Gervais went to a depanneur with friends on their lunch hour; she bought a soup and a can of FCKD UP, an alcoholic drink.

“She drank the majority of its contents, sharing it with her friends,” said coroner Martin Larocque.

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A few moments later, she went back to the depanneur to buy another two cans.

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READ MORE: Funeral for Athena Gervais in St-Felicien

“She, again, drank the majority of what was in the can, sharing it with her friends,” the report says.

As they started walking back to the high school, Gervais drank some of a third can of the sugary, alcoholic drink before entering the school.

“She then exited the school alone. This was the last time she was seen alive,” the report said.

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Her body was found March 1, 2018, in a stream behind Poly-Jeunesse High School in Laval, a few days after her death.

READ MORE: Quebec beverage maker Geloso Group announces end of FCKD UP drink

Laval firefighters made the discovery during a sweep of the grounds. Authorities did not make any attempts to revive her.

WATCH BELOW: Quebec beverage maker Geloso Group announces end of FCKD UP drink

Quebec beverage maker Geloso Group announces end of FCKD UP drink
Quebec beverage maker Geloso Group announces end of FCKD UP drink

The coroner’s report found that there were no traces of drugs in her system. However, her blood-alcohol level was 192 mg/100 ml. The legal limit to drive a vehicle is 80 mg/100 ml.

“It should be noted that Athena Gervais had no significant history of alcohol consumption,” Larocque states.

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“On Feb. 26, 2018, she started drinking at 12:01 p.m. and stopped roughly around 12:24 p.m. before heading back to school. This shows that she consumed a large quantity of alcohol in a very short period of time.”

READ MORE: The regulatory ‘loophole’ that lets companies sell alcoholic drinks containing caffeine

The 568 ml cans contain 11.9 per cent alcohol. Gervais drank about 1.7 litres of what is considered strong alcohol.

“Her blood alcohol level shows she was severely drunk at the time of her death,” the report found.

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“To our understanding, Athena Gervais  was disoriented and accidentally fell into the stream.”

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The coroner’s report, in noting that the drink’s slogan was “Get FCKD UP,” strongly recommended tighter rules around sugary, alcoholic drinks.

READ MORE: Quebec to ban high sugar, alcohol drinks from grocery, convenience stores

This includes that alcoholic drinks, similarly to tobacco, should have neutral packaging to not attract people to drink excessively.

“It is imperative that a set of measures be adopted to prevent the dangers of excessive drinking, especially in children and young adults,” Larocque writes.

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He also recommended that the Canadian government limit the percentage of alcohol in sugary drinks be limited to one serving, as opposed to the current suggested one-and-a-half servings.

READ MORE: Quebec’s Couche-Tard stores pull alcoholic drink ‘FCKD UP’ from shelves after teen’s death

He noted there should be advertised rules about drinking alcohol online and on social media.

A few days after her body was found, Geloso Group, the company that produced FCKD UP, announced it was ceasing its production and pulling the product from store shelves.