Craig man dies of accidental methamphetamine overdose
November 4, 2016
Craig — Scott Burke's death has been ruled by Mesa County Corner's Office as an accidental death resulting from methamphetamine use.
The 43-year-old Craig man was declared missing on Sept. 24 when he did not return from a shooting trip.
Mesa County Sherriff's Office coordinated an extensive air and ground search of 700 square miles from the North Desert on 16 Road and the Bookcliffs area west of De Beque where Scott Burke was believed to have gone.
After three days, the search was suspended.
He was found Sept. 30 on the west of Lands End Road, a site between Palisade and Whitewater, well outside the original search zone.
The cause of death was not immediately known.
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"He was loved by everybody. He helped everybody that needed help. He fell into a dark hole. We thought, in August, that everything was fine and it wasn't," said Sunset Burke, Scott Burke's mother.
If there were signs that Scott Burke needed help, they were not the signs that the family would have expected.
"It was a shock to all of us. We did not realize the depth of his depression," said Scott Burke's Aunt Esther Mease.
Sunset Burke and Mease hope that the circumstances of his death from meth might help other families avoid a similar tragedy.
"It hasn't gone away. The public needs to be extremely aware of it. I know there are clues, strong ones. People need to look for those in their loved ones. I think the community needs to be aware that it is still rampant," Sunset Burke said.
Alcohol, methamphetamine, marijuana and heroin are the main drugs used by individuals who seek treatment according to a report by the Drug/Alcohol Coordinated Data Systems of the Office of Behavioral Health of the Colorado Department of Human Services.
The Colorado State Task Force on Substance Abuse Trends and Response Task Force in a January 2016 report wrote "it is essential to promote researched-informed prevention practices and programs, and not only for educating youth and adults but also for fostering resilience and creating protective environments, whether at home, in school or in the community."
Sunset Burke has a simple message.
"You just can't loose touch with your loved ones," she said. "Don't let them just slide through and think you'll call them tomorrow and never do. Look for warning signs. After the fact there were a lot of signs. Before the fact there weren't many and that's a bad thing. We all need to be aware that this can happen to anybody."
Burke is survived by two daughters, three sons, three grandchildren, another grandchild on the way, mother Sunset and father Mickey Burke, in addition to extended family and friends.
"He was a loving father and grandson and son. He had the greatest smile. He was just super to have as a son. He was an all-around good person. He will be missed," Sunset Burke said.