Female inmate dead after 2 suspected opioid overdoses at Barton Jail in 12 hours

A woman in her 30s was pronounced dead in her cell around 7 a.m.

A woman in her 30s was pronounced dead in her cell around 7 a.m.

An female inmate died of a suspected drug overdose the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre Friday morning. (Adam Carter/CBC)

A female inmate at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre is dead after paramedics responded to two suspected opiod overdoses at the jail in less than 12 hours.

The woman in her 30s was pronounced dead in her cell around 7 a.m. Friday after being found in "severe medical distress," according to Hamilton EMS spokesperson Dave Thompson.

Another woman in her 20s survived a suspected overdose around 7 p.m. Thursday, Thompson added. She was taken to hospital in serious, but stable condition.

"The ministry can confirm that an inmate was found in medical distress in her cell this morning at the Hamilton Wentworth Detention Centre," wrote Ministry of the Solicitor General spokesman Andrew Morrison in an email to CBC News. 

"The ambulance was quickly called and the inmate was pronounced deceased."

Morrison declined to provide further details, citing ongoing coroner and ministry investigations.

City seeing a surge of overdoses

The latest death comes as Hamilton has seen a recent surge in overdoses across the city, with 83 calls last month alone — the most ever recorded.

Thompson said paramedics also responded to two suspected opiod overdoses downtown Friday morning, on top of the 23 that have already been recorded so far this month.

'Terrified' families call for change

A CBC analysis of statistics obtained from the Office of the Chief Coroner shows 11 people died from drug overdoses at the jail between 2010 and 2017 —almost triple the number of the next closest facility in the province.

The latest suspected overdoses come as the family members of eight men who died of overdoses at the jail wait for the ministry to respond to an inquest into their deaths and continue to host rallies outside the jail calling for change.

People beat drums and brandished signs outside the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre last month, as passing cars honked their support. (Laura Howells/CBC)

"We're just terrified," April Tykoliz, whose brother Marty died at the jail in 2014 previously told CBC.

"We don't understand … there are problems that are very apparent, they've been going on for so many years and those don't need to wait."