LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A mother is filing a lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Corrections, claiming her son would still be alive if officers weren’t bringing drugs into prisons.
Brandy Zakora says her story is just an example of many.
“Not only did my son overdose on Jan. 22, that was his brother’s birthday,” said Zakora.
On that day six years ago, Brandy’s son Seth died in prison.
The cause? A fentanyl overdose.
Zakora says right before Seth died, two other inmates in the same unit were hospitalized for overdoses.
“You should’ve gotten those drugs out of that prison after the first overdose, and out of that unit,” continued Zakora. “The first overdose. Not a second overdose, and then a fatality?”
A study from the Detroit Free Press showed there were 64 overdoses in state prisons back in 2019.
The numbers increased to 136 in 2020 and 252 in 2021.
MDOC said they take smuggling very seriously, and that even though overdoses went up, the number of deaths continues to drop.
“Every time that we use Narcan on someone, we count it as a suspected overdose,” said Chris Gautz with MDOC. “It could be because they’ve overdosed. But it also could be that they have diabetes, and they have low blood sugar and they’ve passed out, or they’ve had some sort of heart attack or seizure or stroke or something like that.”
For Zakora, her case against MDOC is still going through the courts.
“It’s not acceptable, we have to do better,” said Zakora.
Zakora is now waiting on a trial date, so she can fight her case in district court.