Authorities frustrated with long waits for results of fentanyl tests

published on April 6, 2017 by Peter Cameron and Liam Casey, The Canadian Press in CTV News Kitchener

Staccato scenes play out in Jody McLennan’s mind on loop: her husband slumped in his chair, paramedics pumping his chest, his lifeless body splayed on their living room floor.

Only four hours earlier, McLennan and Oghenovo Avwunufe had been munching on chips and drinking beer before she fell asleep on the couch while he sat in front of the computer, working on a business project. Unbeknownst to McLennan, Avwunufe had snorted cocaine earlier with a friend.

He was still in the same chair when McLennan woke up at 6 a.m., she recalled in a recent interview.

“I thought he was sleeping, so I went over and shook him, and I knew when I shook him that he wasn’t alive,” she said.

Paramedics arrived within minutes and immediately began pumping Avwunufe’s chest, but they were unable to revive him. A coroner arrived about five hours later and pronounced the 25-year-old dead.

The coroner told McLennan her husband’s blood was sent to the Centre for Forensic Sciences — the scientific arm of Ontario’s justice system — for a toxicological analysis. Once the results were in — the turnaround time is 37 days, according to the lab — the coroner would determine the cause of death and notify the victim’s family. The whole investigation takes months to conduct, according to a spokeswoman for Ontario’s Office of the Chief Coroner.

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