2016 South Surrey overdose victim died of ‘cocaine toxicity’

Coroner’s report deems death of Danika Koltai accidental

Danika Koltai died in September 2016 due to “cocaine toxicity,” a coroner has found. (File photo)

The overdose death of a young South Surrey woman nearly two years ago was due to “cocaine toxicity.”

The finding regarding Danika Koltai was shared in a coroner’s report that was signed in early May and released to Peace Arch News Tuesday morning.

PAN first reported on the 20-year-old’s death in September 2016, after her family shared her story through social media in the hopes of preventing similar deaths.

Koltai was “just a beautiful woman taken from herself and the rest of us by chosen behaviors with completely unintended consequences,” her father, Tom Koltai, wrote in a Facebook post.

At that time, Koltai’s family attributed her death to ingestion of an “accidental but deadly concoction of prescription and non-prescription” drugs, and suggested the deadly opiate fentanyl may have played a role.

Coroner Jacqueline Couch’s report does not mention fentanyl. It does, however, note that investigation “revealed that Ms. Koltai had a history of illicit and prescription drugs misuse.”

Couch notes toxicology tests found “cocaine in a range where non-lethal concentrations overlap with those found in fatal overdoses and an elevated level of oxycodone but below a range considered toxic.”

As well, therapeutic levels of alprazolam (used to treat anxiety and panic disorders) and diphenhydramine (an antihistamine), as well as alcohol, were detected.

“Ms. Koltai was not prescribed any of these medications at the time of her death or in the preceding 14 months,” the report states.

Couch determined that Koltai – who had attended Earl Marriott Secondary and worked at The Shops at Morgan Crossing Starbucks – died Sept. 1, 2016.

According to the report, she was found unresponsive in bed by friends at a private residence at 1 p.m Sept. 2.

Paramedics and Delta Police attended the scene, however, no resuscitative efforts were made as it was clear Koltai was deceased, the report states.

The report notes that Koltai had been captured on CCTV the day before she was found deceased, leaving the residence around 1:15 p.m. and returning minutes before 4 p.m.

“Drug paraphernalia at the scene consisted of multiple drug baggies with white powder contents and a small amount of a herbal substance,” the report notes.

Koltai’s death has been deemed accidental.

The coroner’s report was released on the same day as the latest illicit-drug overdose statistics were shared.

According to those statistics, there were 109 suspected illicit-drug overdose deaths across B.C. in May; the figure represents a 12 per cent decrease in such deaths compared to April, when 124 were recorded. It’s also a decrease of 23 per cent from May 2017, when 141 illicit-drug overdose deaths were logged.

Surrey remains second in B.C. for illicit-drug overdose deaths this year, with 97 recorded as of May 31.

Provincewide, the majority of such deaths – 60 per cent – continue to occur in private residences. Fentanyl was detected in approximately 83 per cent of the deaths (up to March 31).

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