‘Ottawa’ Ottawa Police Probing Two Teen Overdose Deaths
Ottawa police are currently investigating two fatal drug overdoses by teenagers in the west end.
District criminal investigation units probe all sudden deaths in the city, except homicides. West district, which investigates these deaths in Kanata, is currently reviewing two caused by overdoses — that of 14-year-old Chloe Kotval, whose death has sent shockwaves throughout her school community and prompted a city-wide discussion on teen opioid use, and that of an 18-year-old woman.
Staff Sgt. Sean Barrett said west district works closely with the coroner to determine cause of death and, if there is no criminal activity involved, no charges will be laid.
The Ottawa police drug unit, which investigates drug trafficking and distribution, is also trying to determine where the drugs that Kotval used came from.
City police, though announcing results of the largest fentanyl seizure in their history and 12 arrests two days after Chloe’s death, have not officially linked her death to fentanyl. Kotval died on Valentine’s Day from what her family and police believe was a fatal drug overdose. Kotval’s family has said the teen’s death was the result of taking a pharmaceutical drug of unknown origin.
Police have yet to receive the results of a toxicology test done to determine what was in Kotval’s system. Toxicology reports can sometimes take months before being completed, leaving police waiting to determine what drugs led to an overdose, said Staff Sgt. Jim Pietrkiewicz, who heads the central district’s criminal investigation unit.
Police, at their drug bust news conference last week, echoed what public health officials said in a warning, that teens and others are unknowingly ingesting fentanyl, thinking it’s something else.
At Kotval’s funeral Sunday, her parents called on authorities to address the “devastating impact” of “high grade counterfeit pharmaceuticals.”
Kanata father Sean O’Leary, prompted by what he said were three west-end overdose deaths and his own experience with his teen daughter Paige’s opioid use, detailed his family’s struggle in a staggering open letter that has brought awareness to what he says is the reality of many Kanata families.