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Inquest into methdone-death at FRCC ends

Robbie Slatten died after drinking methadone that was meant for his cell mate. - methadoneblues.blogspot.com
Robbie Slatten died after drinking methadone that was meant for his cell mate.
— image credit: methadoneblues.blogspot.com

A coroner’s jury has recommended corrections officers perform more than a visual check of inmates following an inquest into the death of an prisoner who overdosed on methadone in a Maple Ridge men’s prison.

The three-day inquest into Robert Wayne (Robbie) Slatten’s death concluded Friday.

Slatten, 31, was an inmate at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre on Oct. 19, 2010, when he was found unresponsive in his cell.

Slatten, a Mission resident, was not on the methadone-maintenance program when he drank the fatal dose.

According to a critical incident review obtained via a freedom-of-information request, Slatten used the photo ID of his cell mate, who was on the methadone program, to obtain the synthetic drug used to wean addicts off opiates such as heroin.

The dose was administered to him by a nurse who was on her second orientation shift at the prison.

The review found the nurse should only have been shadowing a more experienced colleague, but ended up administering methadone to inmates because another nurse called in sick.

The coroner’s jury recommend prison guards be more vigilant while checking on the well-being of inmates after they drink methadone or take narcotics.

Log book entries must note the inmates positions as well as chest and breathing movements rather than a “visual check.”

The jury recommended corrections officers be jointly responsible for identifying inmates along with health care staff prior to handing out medication.

The jury also recommended more training for front line staff when it comes to administering methadone.

The jury suggested B.C. Corrections discontinue the practice of assigning RCMP to notify next of kin when an inmate dies and instead delegate responsibility to a specific staff member.

The jury also had a recommendation for RCMP, noting that police should be required to conduct a thorough investigation that includes interviewing all individuals directly involved in any unexpected death of a B.C. Corrections inmate.

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