Inmate died of overdose: inquest

Duane Hicks

An inquest here last week into the August, 2009 death of a man at the Fort Frances Jail determined he died accidently of opiate toxicity, with the jury making recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths in future.
The inquest examined the death of Atikokan resident Dylan Wreggitt, 21, who died Aug. 15, 2009 at La Verendrye Hospital following his arrest by the OPP.
Wreggitt was found unresponsive in his cell at the Fort Frances Jail in the early-morning hours of Aug. 15.
He was taken to the hospital, where efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.
The ensuing inquest was mandatory under the Coroners Act.
The jury made two recommendations to the Fort Frances Jail and six recommendations to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services on Friday after hearing two days of testimony last Wednesday and Thursday.
The recommendations to the jail included:
•Consider using a local OPP K-9 for a random weekly search of cells; and
•Consider implementing a policy for the operational manager and delegates to review new inmate drug issues and/or histories as reflected in intake information.
The recommendations to the ministry included:
•Ensure resources are available to staff for enhanced training respecting drug screening, surveillance, recognition, and management to the extent reasonably feasible;
•Consider implementing protocols to encourage screening of inmates’ drug issues and/or histories as reflected in intake information;
•Continue to explore enhanced detection modalities for drug screening of body cavities;
•Continue to emphasize the importance of complying with ministry search policies;
•During the intake process, and possibly delivered by a nurse, a warning along the following lines be relayed to the inmate:
“You may encounter drugs while incarcerated. You should be aware that the risk of overdose and death is much greater when you do not know exactly what you are taking, and if you were a regular user outside, you will lose your tolerance to narcotics.
“An amount which might have had little effect on you in the past may now be enough to stop your breathing.”
•The ministry should review the efficacy of maintaining on-site, in addition to other medical supplies, a stock of Naloxone (a drug used to counter the effects of opioid overdose).
Dr. David Legge, regional supervising coroner for Northwestern Ontario, presided as inquest coroner while Crown Attorney Robert Young was counsel to the coroner.