A coroner’s inquest into the overdose death of a young man who’d been living at a drug rehab centre has delivered 21 recommendations in an attempt to prevent a similar death.
Brandon Juhani Jansen of Coquitlam died last March while he was being treated for a fentanyl addiction at a treatment centre in Powell River.
The 20-year-old was ruled to have died from “a mixed opioid drug overdose,” classifying his death as accidental.
The jury recommended increasing access to the opioid replacement therapy Suboxone, and expanding treatment programs diacetylmorphine (pharmaceutical grade heroin) and hydromorphone for chronic users.
Other recommendations include having Naloxone in B.C. schools with a person on site who is trained in how to use it, as well as reviewing the number of supervised consumption sites, rather than overdose prevention sites.
Jansen was one of 944 British Columbians who died of an illicit overdose in 2016 – nearly double the number in 2015.
He had entered the private Sunshine Coast Health Centre for his 11th attempt at treatment involving fentanyl.
The centre’s chief executive Melanie Jordan said in November that the young man died partly due to the fact that the antidote Naloxone and the therapeutic drug Suboxone were not available.
An investigation by Vancouver Coastal Health released that month said the centre in Powell River was in compliance with provincial regulations.
The health authority said in a report that the RCMP found evidence suggesting Jansen likely got the drugs that contributed to his death from another patient who obtained them while on a day pass.
It said police also found “another illegal substance” in Jansen’s room hidden in a container labelled as supplements, which were believed to have been brought to the centre by a family member.
Michelle Jansen said she visited her son the day before he died and did not bring him any supplements or medication.
She said that at the time of his death, the centre did not carry Naloxone because it could not get the appropriate authorization from provincial health regulators to administer the drug.
Jansen said that based on the report, staff might have saved her son’s life had a higher authority insisted that treatment centre in B.C. be armed with naloxone during an opioid crisis.
The centre’s chief medical officer was also waiting for approval to prescribe Suboxone, which stops cravings and can prevent opioid overdoses.
Jordan has said the centre was granted authorization to prescribe Suboxone last July, days after the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. lifted restrictions that previously limited who could administer the drug.
With files from The Canadian Press