Inmate died of illegal drug cocktail

An inmate at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre died from a cocktail of street drugs, says a coronor's report.

The report, released Friday, said 41-year-old Dean Ernest Hopkins died last July 3 from an accidental drug overdose.

In her report, coroner Cory Daye said Hopkins had a lethal combination of methamphetamine, heroin, cannabis and ecstasy in his system that morning.

A search of his cell turned up heroine and what was believed to be brown weed oil - a form of cannabis - in coffee and Coffee-mate jars.

There was no sign of injury or foul play and suicide was not considered a factor. However, Hopkins had an enlarged heart and there were signs congestive heart failure may have been a contributing factor in his death.

Daye's report mentions the Corrections Branch did a review that suggested considering the installation of automatic external defibrillators in all B.C. jails.

Emergency crews who responded to KRCC found Hopkins unresponsive and resuscitation efforts did not work.

The report states Hopkins's roommate was seen going in and out of the cell twice, then getting a guard. The KRCC health-care nurses were called to the cell and, along with guards and emergency responders, tried without success to revive him.

Hopkins was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to Daye, the cellmate said they had been using various drugs in the past few evenings, although he claimed no knowledge of any drug use that morning.

The report includes other recommendations from the Corrections Branch critical incident review for KRCC. Those recommendations include asking that KRCC management:

* review the process for unlocked inmates to ensure there is an officer presence at the cell door;

* review adult custody policy and standard operating procedures with staff regarding conducting and recording inmate counts, visual cell checks and other inmate movements;

* update as necessary standard operating procedures for calling health-care staff to a code blue;

* develop a plan to provide updated information to staff about locations of emergency medical equipment bags and procedures for getting bags to an incident;

* review the practice of putting remanded inmates in the kitchen work program.

myoung@kamloopsnews.ca

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