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Death by overdose of a baby: an Alberta judge calls for government action

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Overdoses of a baby Opioids caused 136 deaths in Alberta in September.


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Justice Jody Moher of the Alberta Court of Justice is imploring the provincial government to take action following the death of a 33-day-old infant in Edmonton on July 24, 2019. #x27;methamphetamine intoxication.

The judge was responsible for investigating the death. In her report (New window), she writes that little Briella is undeniably an innocent victim of the “epidemic”; of methamphetamine that is invading communities in Alberta. Further, she adds that as a society, we all share the responsibility to implement measures to prevent similar deaths.

Judge J. Moher makes two recommendations to ensure that this type of death is avoided. The first is to ensure that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) and its associated toxicology laboratory are better equipped to investigate deaths suspected to be drug overdoses.

Investigator Jonathan Henderson of the Edmonton Police Service, who was the lead investigator in this homicide case, testified that the investigation was significantly delayed, according to the investigation report. Toxicology test results were made available to the Edmonton Police Service months after Briella's death.

The second is for the Alberta government to increase public awareness and funding for programs that aim to combat the abuse of this type of substance. She recommends raising public awareness of the dangers of exposing infants and children to any quantity of methamphetamine or any other illegal drugs.

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In a press release, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice declared that this the latter had accepted the first recommendation. As for the second, the Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction is reviewing the recommendations made by the judge.

Testifying at the inquest, Dr. Craig Chatterton, the chief toxicologist for the Alberta OCME, said that for the first time since he worked for Over the past decade, deaths from illegal drug overdoses have exceeded deaths caused by alcohol.

In addition, 16 children under the age of 10 have died from drug poisoning in the last 13 years, according to the report. Among them, nine were toddlers under the age of two.

In her report, Judge Moher describes the death of the healthy baby as deeply tragic.

According to the report, on the morning of her death, July 24, 2019, the little girl woke up around 2 a.m., then around 5 a.m. Briella would have been fed every time. Then the mother and daughter fell asleep on the sofa under a light blanket.

At 8:40 a.m., the father reportedly woke the mother, but the child was unconscious at the time. The parents attempted CPR and 911 was called at 8:57 a.m.

At 9:05 a.m., medical first responders Emergency Services (EMS) and the Edmonton Fire Department arrived at the residence to provide emergency medical assistance. They then realized that the baby was in cardio-respiratory arrest. No heartbeat was detected.

Resuscitation maneuvers did nothing. Briella Brooks was pronounced dead by medical staff at Stollery Children's Hospital at 9:30 a.m. At that time, the suspected cause of death was accidental suffocation while lying on the sofa.

With information from Wallis Snowdon

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