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

Christina Lake Fire Department’s Chief Joe Geary eyes the camera from behind the wheel of the department’s 40-year-old bush truck. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Christina Lake FD needs new equipment, upgrades, prompting loan by RDKB

It’s not whether the department needs the equipment, it’s how voters will pay for it, says Regional District

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

Selkirk College has begun its search in earnest for a leader to replace president Angus Graeme who is set to retire from his position in May 2022. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College seeks community input for president search

Current president Angus Graeme retires next year

A report shows nine West Kootenay communities are have more low-income persons than the provincial average. File photo
Study casts new light on poverty in the West Kootenay

Nine communities in region have more low-income residents than provincial average

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read