Nova Scotia

RCMP apologizes in Nova Scotia drug death

The RCMP is apologizing to Amy Graves, whose investigation into her brother's drug-related death prompted police to reopen the case.

The RCMP is apologizing to Amy Graves, whose investigation into her brother's drug-related death prompted police in Nova Scotia to reopen the case.

Joshua Graves, 21, took a lethal mix of alcohol and Dilaudid at a house party in the Annapolis Valley on March 19, 2011. His death was ruled an accident.

Amy Graves suspected police didn't do their job right.

"There was no investigation. It was just kind of like, 'Yeah, we know he overdosed from drugs, so it's his own fault and we don't need to figure out where they came from,'" she said.

Graves did her own detective work and gathered information. She passed that on to police, who charged a man this year with criminal negligence for allegedly selling drugs to her brother.

She received a letter from the RCMP on Wednesday.

"The RCMP now recognize that the original sudden death investigation should not have been concluded without exhausting all investigative avenues relating to the source of the drugs ingested by your brother," the letter states.

"The RCMP sincerely apologizes for this."

The letter backs up what Graves suspected all along.

"I just really want to thank the officer that reinvestigated the case and took the time to question all the people, and took the time to look at all the evidence, you know, did the job the way it was supposed to be done the first time," she said.

Graves hopes that police have learned from her brother's case.

"It's too bad that I had to go to those kinds of measures to get my brother's death investigated. But hopefully this will set some sort of precedent for how these cases should be investigated," she said.

Graves formed the group Get Prescription Drugs Off the Streets after her brother's death. She has been lobbying for better access to government-funded treatment programs in the area.

She plans to keep warning people about the effects of prescription drug abuse.