8-year-old died of drug overdose while in government care
An autopsy report has revealed an eight-year-old who died while in provincial government care was killed by a drug overdose.
“It’s not fair,” said child's mother through tears. The woman cannot be named under Alberta's Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act.
The little girl was living in an Edmonton group home when she died in her sleep.
The autopsy report concluded her death “could be a medication dispensing error with excess medication possibly being administered.”
It also said “at times the locked drug cabinet was not used and the medication was kept on top of the stove.”
“Why was her medication not in the locked cabinet where it was mandatory for it to be and on the stove top where she could get it?” asked the mother.
The report said the amount of drug found in the girl’s system was four times the amount of trichloroethanol found in the average child in a study of kids 13 and under and “within the range of concentration previously reported in adult fatalities.”
Edmonton Police are treating the case as a suspicious death and have begun an investigation.
“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle that someone’s dumped in front of me and I only have this one little tiny corner finished,” said the mother. “None of it makes sense. The puzzle is not fitting together. There is a missing piece here.”
The group home where the girl lived is run by Mariam’s Footsteps, who declined to comment referred CBC News to Alberta Human Services. No one from the department was available for an interview.
New Democrat Party MLA Rachel Notley says third-party social service providers are more interested in the bottom line than effective care.
“There’s good intensive — expensive, but intensive — behavioural therapy that can really help these kids or there is drugs,” Notley said. “And a lot of times, that latter is the much cheaper way to deal with the problem.”
Notley wants the Child Advocate to investigate the case.
With files from the CBC's James Hees