Fen­tanyl con­cern at Drumheller In­sti­tu­tion

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa

A spokesper­son for Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices of Canada (CSC) says the safety of staff, in­mates, and the pub­lic are its pri­or­ity.

This comes af­ter re­ports of wide fen­tanyl use at the Drumheller In­sti­tu­tion. While the Cal­gary Her­ald re­ported there have been seven over­doses in the last week, and two deaths in re­cent months, Kelly Dash, spokesper­son for CSC could not con­firm these num­bers.

“Over­doses are treated as se­cu­rity in­ci­dents by CSC and are sub­ject to CSC in­ves­ti­ga­tions and pos­si­bly po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions. It would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate for CSC to com­ment on in­ci­dents which are the sub­ject of an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” she said in a writ­ten state­ment.

She notes the most re­cent fa­tal­ity at the Drumheller In­sti­tu­tion was in Septem­ber of last year when 23-year-old Cody Oster­land was dis­cov­ered un­re­spon­sive in his cell.

She says il­le­gal drugs in pen­i­ten­tiaries are a na­tional is­sue.

“CSC ac­knowl­edges the preva­lence of sub­stance abuse prob­lems among of­fend­ers and as­sists in ad­dress­ing those prob­lems through a com­pre­hen­sive drug strat­egy and other in­ter­ven­tions,” she states. “Drug abuse is a global phe­nom­e­non and cor­rec­tional en­vi­ron­ments are not im­mune to this. Al­most 80 per cent of of­fend­ers ar­rive at fed­eral in­sti­tu­tions with some level of sub­stance abuse prob­lem, and many have mul­ti­ple ad­dic­tions.”

Dash says med­i­cal staff at the in­sti­tu­tion is trained to ad­min­is­ter Nar­can, which block the ef­fect of opi­oids in the event of an over­dose.

“Pre­vent­ing and re­duc­ing the num­ber of con­tra­band items and il­licit drugs in cor­rec­tional in­sti­tu­tions is a pri­or­ity for CSC,” states a re­lease.

“CSC has a ro­bust pre­ven­tive se­cu­rity and in­tel­li­gence ca­pac­ity aimed at mon­i­tor­ing and in­ves­ti­gat­ing in­mate ac­tiv­ity, po­ten­tial drug-smuggling at­tempts, and seizure of il­licit sub­stances. There are a num­ber of tools avail­able that are used to pre­vent the flow of drugs into our in­sti­tu­tions. These in­clude in­tel­li­gence in­ves­ti­ga­tions, searches of of­fend­ers, vis­i­tors, build­ings and cells us­ing non in­tru­sive search tools in­clud­ing ion scan­ners and de­tec­tor dogs.”

A fa­tal­ity in­quiry into the deaths of two in­mates who died Christ­mas Eve 2011 was heard in Jan­uary. Both in­mates had toxic lev­els of fen­tanyl in their bod­ies.

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