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Death of Castlegar shelter resident ruled accidental

The BC Coroners Service has concluded a death at the Way Out Shelter in Castlegar two years ago was accidental. Its report does not make any recommendations.

The death, which occurred on Jan. 11, 2021, was found to have been caused by “mixed illicit drug toxicity.” At the time the shelter was located downtown.

The person’s name, age, and gender were blacked out in the report provided to Vista Radio.

It says during a room check by shelter staff, the person was found unresponsive on a bunkbed, half an hour after they were last seen alive.

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Staff administered naloxone, and when paramedics arrived they delivered two more doses. However, the person was pronounced dead.

The coroner found drug paraphernalia on the scene but no evidence of traumatic injury or foul play.

The report says the person had a history of problems with illicit substance use. In the previous year, there was no record of hospital treatment but a family remember reported administering naloxone on three different occasions in the summer of 2020.

At the time of their death, the resident had been prescribed opioid therapy and had previously been prescribed methadone.

The family reported the resident had been on a waitlist for a treatment facility.

The report says a toxicology analysis revealed a lethal amount of fentanyl as well as etizolam in a range normally associated with recreational use.

It was one of six deaths in Castlegar in 2021 resulting from toxic drugs. There were six more deaths between January and August 2022.

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