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Suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushes government to 'do better': Minister

Last Updated May 7, 2021 at 2:44 pm MDT

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s minister of mental health and addictions say a suspected overdose death of a 12-year-old girl from Vancouver Island is driving the government “to do more and do better.”

But Sheila Malcolmson says she needs to learn more details about the case of Ally Thomas, who died April 14, before commenting specifically on what the government can do. 

Malcolmson made the comment during a news conference to announce the new Foundry BC app, a portal for people ages 12 to 24 to access counselling, primary care and peer support.

Ally’s mother, Adriana Londono, says her daughter had overdosed three times before her fourth fatal “cry for help.”

Londono says the family tried to get her support but was only given a list of counsellors, an avenue Ally wasn’t willing to take. 

She says the family was told by government staff that Ally was too young to qualify for rehab because she was under 14. 

The Children’s Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

“It was extremely frustrating, there was nothing we could do,” Londono said in an interview on Friday.

“Ally was frustrated too. She was crying for help but she didn’t get the help she needed.”

Malcolmson aid the government is working “as hard as we can” to build a system of care that offers a variety of different supports, including the app. 

“This is a terrible story that just re-strengthens our commitment as a government to build the kind of addictions and mental health care system that anybody can access,” Malcolmson said. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021.

The Canadian Press