Fentanyl concern at Drumheller Institution
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.