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

Seafest is underway with a sunfest theme from June 11 to 13 in Prince Rupert. Alex Hoogendorn vice president of Prince Rupert Special Events is creating sunny times making feature for the decorating contest with his son Caleb Hoogendorn on June 4. (K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Seafest 44 plans a sunfest June 11 to 13 in Prince Rupert

All events in festival are COVID-19 safe, social distancing and health protocols approved by N.H.A.

Relay for Life will be held virtually on June 12. Donations and registered teams are decreased in numbers this year, but there is still time to register. Cancer survivors, Isaac Mastroianni and his dad Mark Mastroianni, wear their Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life survivors shirts. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
A lifeline for many, Relay for Life now needs community support

Prince Rupert is one of just four cities in B.C. with teams registered the June 12 event

Coho is one of many fish species that will benefit from a project to assess fish passage in the Falls River Watershed and offer options for improved connectivity and habitat restoration. The project will be delivered with funding from the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program announced on June 8. (Photo: supplied by FWCP, istock, M.Haring)
More than $2.1 million for Northcoast fish and wildlife projects

Falls River Watershed SE of Prince Rupert to have fish passage and habitat study

Taylor Bachrach, NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley addresses Parliament on June 7, in call for the federal government to stop fighting Indigenous children in court and to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action. (Image: supplied from Facebook)
NDP motion calling for immediate reconciliation action passes

Skeena-Bulkley MP Taylor Bachrach addresses federal Parliament

Salmon Arm ICBC Service centre. Lachlan Labere/ Salmon Arm Observer
Backlog: New drivers travel from as far as Prince Rupert for road test in Salmon Arm

Salmon Arm man unable to get his road test until late November in Kelowna

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read