Calls for change follow third suspected overdose death of 2018 at Lethbridge Correctional Centre
Ryan Quiroga's loved ones are searching for answers after the 28-year-old died Sunday from an alleged opioid overdose while in custody at Lethbridge Correctional Centre.
Jeremy Quiroga says his brother began serving his sentence at the correctional centre in October of 2017 and was scheduled to be released next month.
“He was a really good person,” said Jeremy of his brother. “Although he struggled with personal demons and addiction and making the best choices.”
The family had hoped Ryan’s time in jail would allow him the opportunity to address his addiction issues and turn his life around but that dream came to a crashing halt on Sunday.
“I was just devastated,” said Mary Weiss, Ryan’s high school sweetheart and the mother of his nine-year-old son. “You know when someone has an addiction, and has those kinds of problems, you think about that possibility. But you’re always hopeful especially when it’s someone you love and care about.”
Weiss says she had remained friends with Ryan and stayed in contact with him despite his troubles.
Karmyn Skura’s four-year-old daughter is without her father following Ryan’s death.
“We were part of the reason he was put into the jail in the first place,” said Skura. “I thought I was making the right choice by doing what we did so he could be there, so he could be safe.”
To date, there have been three suspected overdose deaths at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre in 2018 including the death of Ryan Quiroga. Another unidentified inmate died while incarcerated roughly two weeks ago.
Skura questions how long it took for Ryan to receive treatment, who administered the naloxone and how much was provided. “That’s really frustrating to know because, if it was given to him early on enough, he could still be here.”
Members of the extended family are troubled by the fact opioids were getting into the correctional centre and they have started a petition demanding answers from Alberta Justice and training for staff in an attempt to prevent future tragedies. The Prevent Further Overdoses at Lethbridge Correctional Centre petition is available here.
Alberta Justice officials confirm an internal review into Ryan Quiroga’s death is underway.
With files from CTV’s Terry Vogt