Inmates overdosing at Barton jail

A recent string of drug overdoses at the Barton Street Jail — has prompted a grieving mother to end her silence. Brenda Bourque’s son Dallas died in 2007 after overdosing on oxycodone and heroin. Dallas is one of several inmates who’s died from an overdose. Since his death seven years ago, Bourque’s mother has thought about why little has been done to stop drugs from getting into the jail. Now, with the coroner’s office poised to launch an inquest into the latest deaths, she may finally get an answer.Brenda Bourque: “And he says I’ll talk to you at 6:30 and I never ever heard his voice again.”When Brenda Bourque last spoke to her 21-year old son Dallas, he told her he had just taken two oxycontin tablets in his Barton Street jail cell.He followed that with a fatal dose of heroin.“I had 21 questions at that time, that I still never got answers to.”An inquest was launched into Bourque’s death. It found either he or someone else smuggled the drugs into the jail, but couldn’t pinpoint a source. The jury didn’t make any recommendations on how similar deaths could be prevented.Deaths like that of Marty Tykoliz, a friend of Bourque’s, known as tyke. The 38-year old inmate fatally overdosed last week on powdered methadone.He was tough on the exterior, but I know that he was just as lost and broken as the rest — as any addict.Less than two months before tyke died, 38-year old Trevor Burke of St. catharines overdosed in the jail. Two years before that, it was 41-year old Louie Unelli of Hamilton.Some say the drugs are smuggled into the jail by inmates serving weekend sentences. Others claim corrections officers are to blame.But most agree, more equipment and staff are needed for intake searches.“Seven years later, and still the same thing happens, and still nothing changes and nothing gets done.”Bourque has been waiting since 2007, and may finally see reform at the Barton Street jail. Regional Supervising Coroner Jack Stanborough says his team will likely launch a joint inquest into the deaths of Tykoliz, Burke and Unelli. “There might be a common systemic issue here.”A joint inquest would investigate how the inmates obtained the drugs and what was done once they started to overdose. Whether that happens depends on the results of investigations into Tykoliz and Burke’s deaths. Those are still pending, but Stanborough says a joint inquest is probable.

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