Candles, feathers, a photo and an urn pay tribute to Zach Plett at his mom’s home in South Surrey. Min. of Social Development & Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson said he ‘has to believe’ a review of Plett’s death in a Surrey recovery home was conducted. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Fatal overdose in Surrey recovery home has ‘got the attention’ of minister

‘I’ve got to believe a review (of Zachary Plett’s death) was done,’ says Min. Shane Simpson

News of a young man’s long-unnoticed overdose death in a Surrey recovery house that’s both registered with the province and licensed with the city has “got the attention” of the minister of social development and poverty reduction.

Min. Shane Simpson – whose ministry provides per diem funding for such facilities – told Peace Arch News Friday that he is “pretty certain there will be an investigation” into the death of 21-year-old Zachary Plett.

Noting he wasn’t specifically aware of Plett’s death, Simpson said he’ll “be interested to understand better what happened here.”

READ MORE: Grieving mom says son who died in Surrey recovery house ‘would’ve been better off homeless’

Plett was found face-down in bed at around 4 p.m. Dec. 15, in a recovery house located just west of Queen Elizabeth Secondary. The coroner told his mom, South Surrey resident Maggie Plett, that he’d died sometime between 9 a.m. and noon, of a fentanyl overdose.

In a story published online Wednesday by PAN and in print in today’s paper (May 31), Plett details conditions she witnessed at the house when she went to retrieve her son’s belongings.

“I wouldn’t let a dead animal rot in that place,” she told PAN earlier this month. “There was mould on his bed sheets. I’ve never seen anything like this. The roommate was already wearing a pair of his shoes.”

She said she wants to know why, in a facility that’s purporting to be helping people recover from addiction, no one thought to check on Zach; where he was, or if he was OK. And if they did, why no one recognized that he needed help.

Friday, Simpson described oversight of such operations as “really important,” and that Plett’s death should have triggered some sort of review; potentially, by the coroner, the ministry of health and others.

“Anytime that you have a tragedy like this it will trigger a review,” he said.

“I’ll be inquiring to determine what the review was. I’ve got to believe a review was done.”

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Zach Plett with his (from left) older sister Callie, mom Maggie and younger sister Cassie, taken at his grandfather’s 95th birthday party, just over a year before Zach died. (Contributed photo).

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