In Saskatchewan, the RCMP has issued a warning on Wednesday regarding the prevalence of “dangerous illicit drugs” in the southern and southeastern parts of the province, after three people died from drug overdoses in the past week.
The Fatal Overdoses Involved Suspected Methamphetamine or Fentanyl
A news release has indicated that the substances believed to have been consumed prior to the three fatal overdoses in Saskatchewan were probably in the form of methamphetamine (meth) or fentanyl powder, and these substances were apparently being sold to the general public.
On February 9, 2023, the Assiniboia RCMP responded to a call about an unresponsive man found in a residence in Assiniboia. Despite efforts by the EMS team, the 21-year-old man was pronounced dead at the location. Upon investigating, the police found crystals and an off-white powder that were suspected to be either methamphetamine (meth) or fentanyl.
On February 13, 2023, the Moosomin RCMP received a report about an unresponsive man in a hotel room in Moosomin. The 22-year-old man was declared dead at the scene, despite resuscitation attempts by the EMS and the police. The authorities discovered a light-colored powder at the site that was suspected to contain either methamphetamine (meth) or fentanyl.
On February 14, 2023, the Canora/Sturgis RCMP responded to a report of an unresponsive woman outside a residence in Preeceville. The 50-year-old woman was transported to the Preeceville Hospital by the EMS team, where she was declared dead. A white powder suspected to contain either methamphetamine (meth) or fentanyl was found at the location by the police.
To determine the nature and involvement of the illegal drugs in the suspected overdose incidents, the Saskatchewan Coroners Service will conduct autopsies and secure toxicology reports.
Saskatchewan RCMP Urges the Public to Take Special Precautions
The Saskatchewan RCMP is advising individuals who use illegal drugs to take extra safety measures while consuming them, including:
- Never use alone
- Inform a trusted person about your intentions to use drugs
- Keep a Naloxone kit with you at all times. These kits can be obtained for free from many locations across the province
- Call 911 immediately if you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose.
In 2017, the Good Samaritan Act was passed at the federal level, providing protection to drug users from possession-related charges when seeking emergency medical help.
The Mounties are urging that anyone with information about these incidents or the substances involved to call Saskatchewan RCMP at 306-310-RCMP. Information can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submitting a tip online at www.saskcrimestoppers.com.
The Battle Against Drug Trafficking Continues
Last year, Saskatchewan witnessed a record high number of overdose deaths. A report by the board of police commissioners indicated that Regina alone experienced over 100 overdose cases per month. During a drug trafficking investigation in and around Regina, law enforcement authorities discovered over 820 grams of fentanyl, along with other items.
As overdose incidents escalate throughout Canada, Saskatchewan is closely observing the pilot program in British Columbia to evaluate whether drug decriminalization could be a potential solution.
In June 2022, the RPS initiated the Virtual Police Reporting System to provide convenience and safety to the public. This program allows people to communicate with a police officer through the internet from the privacy and comfort of their home or office at any time.
On December 1, 2022, the Saskatchewan Drug Task Force announced a $650,000 funding to support the Overdose Outreach Teams pilot project, which will be operational until May 15 in Saskatoon and Regina. These teams are an essential tool for assisting individuals in accessing the necessary care and support to begin their journey towards recovery and healing.