Allayah Yoli Thomas had recently turned 12 years old when she died of a suspected drug overdose April 15. (Courtesy of Adriana Londono)

Allayah Yoli Thomas had recently turned 12 years old when she died of a suspected drug overdose April 15. (Courtesy of Adriana Londono)

Suspected overdose death of Vancouver Island 12 year old speaks to lack of supports

Allayah Yoli Thomas was found dead by her friend the morning of April 15

Adriana Londono says the death of her 12-year-old daughter is a reflection of the lack of supports both of them have faced.

A Grade 6 student at Gordon Head Middle School, Allayah “Ally” Yoli Thomas was struggling.

“They’re not like me,” Ally would tell Londono. She preferred to hangout with Langford kids who were a bit older – kids who would do drugs with her.

In November 2019 Londono and her three kids moved to Greater Victoria from Alberta. Ally started with marijuana and cigarettes, but soon was using hard drugs too.

On April 14, two months after Ally’s 12th birthday, she was hanging out with Langford friends.

“They were going to have a sleepover at her friend’s house in Langford, but then they went with Ally’s boyfriend downtown and bought some downers – heroin or fentanyl or whatever – and they did some and went home,” Londono said.

READ ALSO: B.C. and Victoria’s overdose deaths still rising five years after public health emergency declared

When they got to the friend’s house, Ally was swaying and her friend’s dad asked her if she was okay. But Ally told him she had just had a couple of drinks and needed to go to bed.

The next morning, her friend woke to find Ally purple in the face and dead beside her. The B.C. Coroner’s Service said it’s investigating the death, but hasn’t confirmed the cause.

Londono said she knew her daughter was struggling with addiction and mental health, and she tried to get her help but didn’t know what to do.

For the most part, Ally was loving, sweet and bubbly, but there were downs too.

“I noticed she had cuts on her arms, so she was struggling,” Londono said. “Sometimes she’d get depressed and I’d find suicidal notes in her room.”

On multiple occasions, Ally was admitted to the Victoria General Hospital and one time she stayed in the psychiatric unit for a week.

READ ALSO: ‘Belittled and dismissed:’ Former patients of Victoria Psychiatric Emergency Services call for change

“It wasn’t long enough and it wasn’t targeted to her addiction,” Londono said. “It was like a bandaid that was ripped off right away.”

The pain is two-fold for Londono because the things she watched her daughter struggle with are the same things she went through at 12.

“I didn’t know what to do about it because I didn’t know what to do about it back then when I was 12,” she said. “No one would help me then.”

Londono continues to battle mental health and addiction today.

In November, she and her kids were living with her mother and stepfather in Gordon Head. But, following a breakup, Londono attempted suicide and the Ministry of Child and Family Development told her she had to leave her kids and move out. Before going, Londono said she told the ministry workers that Ally needed rehab, but that they said there were no programs for someone so young and they would get her a counsellor.

“She needed something more long term than that,” Londono said.

In Greater Victoria, there are no rehab programs for youth under 13. A spokesperson for the Victoria Youth Empowerment Society said they probably get one to two such requests a year and they aren’t able to admit them. But, Island Health said age requirements can be waived depending on the circumstances.

READ ALSO: Fentanyl toxicity rises, carfentanil deaths spike: 165 fatal overdoses in 1st month of 2021

Londono said she feels pain and guilt, fearing that her daughter’s struggles were inherited, but that she hopes sharing her story prevents another family from going through the same.

“I just want them to know these drugs are so deadly,” she said. “They think they’re having fun, but they could die any second.”

Londono said she’ll always remember Ally as a beautiful soul and her best friend.

The Vancouver Island Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-888-494-3888. Crisis text services are available at 250-800-3806 between 6 and 10 p.m., seven days a week. The Island Health Youth Tier 5 team provides integrated services to youth with substance and mental health challenges. It can be found at islandhealth.ca.


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Greater Victoriaoverdose

Just Posted

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

Some of the priorities that the GDCF is hoping to touch on in their surveys that will inform community priorities. (GDCF photo)
Golden Community Foundation encouraging residents to participate in survey

It’s a new project to inform community priorities in the coming year

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

The Aquatic Centre at Western Financial Place.
Cranbrook Aquatic Center to close temporarily

The annual shutdown of the Aquatic Center at Western Financial Place will begin earlier than scheduled this year and does not have a defined end date at this time.

The latest EKASS survey confirms a steady decline in substance use among EK youth over the years. (image compilation via Pixabay)
Latest survey shows steady decline in adolescent substance use over the years

Starting in 2002, the survey has been conducted every two years to monitor changes in substance use patterns, attitudes and behaviors amongst East Kootenay youth.

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Most Read