Brockville inquest urges overhaul of opioid prescribing

Photo by Michelle Siu for the Globe and Mail

KIM MACKRAEL AND ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY
Tuesday, July 05, 2011 – Globe and Mail

Ontario should overhaul its system for prescribing, monitoring and treating patients using prescription opioids, an inquest into two fatal drug overdoses in Brockville has recommended.

The inquest into the 2008 deaths of 41-year-old Donna Bertrand and 19-year-old Dustin King delivered 48 wide-ranging recommendations Tuesday, including mandatory education and auditing of doctors and better systems for monitoring who can access pills.

Mr. King and Ms. Bertrand were found dead in the same apartment within days of each other. He died Nov. 21, 2008, of an OxyContin overdose, passed out on Ms. Bertrand’s couch, where he lay for hours before people in the downtown Brockville apartment noticed something was wrong.

She died 11 days later after ingesting a fatal mix of sedatives and antidepressants.

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Inquest into Brockville’s fatal overdoses lays bare the toll of prescription-drug addiction

Hilda Bertrand stands outside the Brockville train station on Monday, June 27, 2011. Her daughter, Donna Bertrand, died of an overdose Dec. 2, 2008 -- days after 19-year-old Dustin King died of an OxyContin overdose in her apartment. An inquest into their deaths was ongoing June 2011 and heard closing arguments Wednesday, June 29, 2011.
(Photo by Anna Mehler Paperny/The Globe and Mail)

Saturday, July 2, 2011 – Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

BROCKVILLE, ONT. — Day after day for weeks on end, Hilda Bertrand and Brenda Toupin-Wiles sat in a Brockville, Ont., courtroom and listened to strangers dissect their children’s deaths.

The inquest into the fatal 2008 overdoses of Ms. Bertrand’s 41-year-old daughter and Ms. Toupin-Wiles’s 19-year-old son has given both families a crash course in pharmacology and prescription-drug abuse.

“It’s been educational. And disturbing,” Ms. Toupin-Wiles said. “I’ve been educated on how to crush, smoke, snort, inject every kind of drug you can imagine.”

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