Correctional Service Canada is launching an inquiry after a February 2015 report ruled that fentanyl was the cause of death in the case of a detainee in a Drummondville, Que., federal penitentiary.
Yvon Garneau, the coroner who wrote the report, concluded that Gérald Tougas lost his life in August 2014 after ingesting the powerful prescription drug.
It is customary for Correctional Service Canada to conduct an inquiry when a detainee dies of unnatural causes.
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Tougas, 64, collapsed while he was talking to another detainee in the prison courtyard.
The toxicology report found traces of fentanyl, naloxone, and acetylfentanyl in his blood and concluded that Tougas had not consumed any alcohol.
Garneau says he's happy reports like his aren't ignored
"This will allow those who are concerned by the issue to move ahead with research on this infamous drug that's killing people," he said.
Dr. Pierre Fortier, a coroner who investigated another fentanyl-related death in the Outaouais region, says there should be stricter control of fentanyl patch sales in Quebec.
Fortier recommends that the Quebec Order of Pharmacists implement measures similar to Ontario's "patch-for-patch" program, where patients must return used patches before obtaining new ones.
Fentanyl is a strong opioid that doctors prescribe to help patients manage chronic pain.
It's estimated to be 80 times as powerful as morphine and hundreds of times more powerful than heroin, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.