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Fear that faulty opioid treatment at OCDC could lead to deaths

A coordinator for the jail hotline, which is looking to address issues effecting inmates, says there needs to be a remedy for the way opioid substitution therapy is delivered.
The Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre on Innes Road. (Jason White/1310 NEWS)

Ottawa prisoners are suggesting the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Service doesn't have the resources to treat addictions, and it could eventually lead to inmate deaths.

A volunteer-run hotline, setup to take calls from Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre prisoners has exceeded 600 calls since launching three months ago.

In a report released by the hotline, nearly 20 per cent of those calls were health care related. Callers reported receiving insufficient or inconsistently-timed dosages, which can increase the chances of an overdose once released.

Coordinator for the jail hotline Souheil Benslimane said prisoners are being left to sit in their cells, in pain.

"[They suffer with] extreme anxiety and extreme distress," he explained.

Some prisoners are waiting weeks for access to opioid substitution treatment because health care staff have to send agreement forms to community doctors. Benslimane called the delivery of treatments at the OCDC "faulty," and said if it's not fixed, people could die.

"Dysfunctional system of opioid substitution therapy leads to death, so we need to remedy it as soon as possible," he added.

The call-in program was launched in early December to help address issues the OCDC currently faces.


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