Female inmate dies of suspected drug overdose at Barton jail

A woman in her thirties has died of a suspected drug overdose at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre early Friday morning.

Emergency crews responded to the jail for a call about a female inmate in distress from a possible overdose shortly after 7 a.m. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

It was the second overdose call in less than 12 hours at the jail. Hamilton EMS Superintendant Dave Thompson says paramedics transported another female inmate, a woman in her twenties, to hospital around 8 p.m. Thursday. It is believed the woman was suffering from an opioid overdose and survived.

There have been more than a dozen drug overdose deaths at the jail in the past six years. Most have been men.

The latest death comes almost a year after an inquest made recommendations to prevent drug overdoses at the jail.

The Ministry of Correctional Services says some steps have already been taken to improve safety including the installation of a parcel x-ray scanner at the jail, and protocol that sees new inmates housed in a separate unit for 24 to 72 hours before being placed in the general population to combat contraband.


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