It was almost a fatal misunderstanding after a woman took a drug she believed to be marijuana.
In reality it was fentanyl and the resulting overdose nearly claimed her life. The man responsible for the drug being in her possession, Kevin Glassco, was in Sarnia Court Oct. 13 to explain the near-deadly situation.
“I know what I did was completely stupid and I’ll definitely make sure it never happens again,” he says while pleading guilty to fentanyl possession. Justice Krista Leszczynski accepted a joint position for a 24 day jail sentence.
The 32 year-old Glassco is no stranger to the courts. He’d “frequently come into police attention, largely due to behaviour resulting from opioid drug use,” says Crown Attorney Brian Higgins during a reading of the facts.
Glassco was on bail and living at his father’s Port Franks home last October when the elder Glassco called OPP to help remove his son. He says he couldn’t deal with his “increasingly unmanageable behaviour” any longer.
Plenty took place between the father’s call and the officers arrival though. Glassco scooted next door and dropped off a bandana full of items at the neighbour’s house. The woman living there, who Glassco knew, took the package inside.
Assuming it was marijuana she proceeded to ingest the drug and immediately passed out. That’s because it was actually the far more powerful fentanyl. Paramedics arrived after her husband returned home to find her and called paramedics. After several doses of naloxone they managed to revive the woman.
The woman was taken to hospital where she spent time recovering from the ordeal. Her husband went outside and gave Glassco a beating. Police finally arrived in the early evening and arrested Glassco.
Given what happened Justice Krista Leszczynski wanted an explanation for the short sentence – which is already covered by time served – and why a trafficking charge wasn’t pursued.
“The situation that occurred here was very concerning but was not within the spirit of… trafficking,” says Higgins, noting “It was a very dangerous and reckless thing Mr. Glassco did and I suppose it was somewhat dangerous and reckless what the individual who smoked the substance did as well.”
Higgins says the Public Prosecution Service has been recommending most simple possession charges be withdrawn entirely, especially in cases of addiction. “But because there was an individual who nearly incurred serious harm… that is considered a serious manifestation,” says Higgins in this instance.
Defence Lawyer David Stoesser adds his client has been in counselling and rehab since being arrested.
“I’ve been learning pretty good ever since then,” says Glassco on his behalf. “I’ve been trying to make the right steps in life to ensure that this doesn’t happen again and I can stay away from substance problems and problems arising because of them.”
“What is very aggravating in this set of circumstances is that it would appear you deliberately exposed another person to that dangerous substance and that person as a result suffered what was described as an unanticipated physical reaction to that and required hospitalization,” says Leszczynski.
The justice says the sentence “may be on the light side given what transpired” but accepted the joint submission. “I truly do wish you the very best in terms of your recovery and rehabilitation efforts,” she says.
Glassco is now on probation for 12 months. He has non-contact orders with several people, including the woman and her family, and must continue substance abuse counselling.
Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent