Pubdate: Wed, 19 Oct 2016
Source: Abbotsford News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Abbotsford News
Author: Tyler Olsen


Crown counsel suggested letter to traffickers was a bad idea

Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich wants to find a way to bring the full
weight of the law down on opioid dealers whose customers overdose and

Rich told Abbotsford council Monday that he had penned a letter to
drug dealers warning them that they could be charged with extremely
serious crimes if their customers suffer fatal overdoses.

But Rich said that Crown counsel thought the letter, as written, was
not a good idea. Nevertheless, Rich said he's still looking at ways to
deter drug dealers with the threat of charges beyond simply
trafficking and was considering modifying the letter for distribution.

Rich noted that fentanyl is easy to purchase in bulk over the internet
and extremely profitable when sold in smaller quantities. It's also
frequently mixed with other narcotics. The only drug it hasn't been
detected with, he said, is marijuana.

The Abbotsford Police Department also plans to issue 24 kits of
naloxone spray to officers this week. Naloxone reverses the symptoms
of opioid overdose, and the spray application has recently been
approved for use in Canada. The naloxone kit can be used if officers
encounter someone who is overdosing, or in case of inadvertent
consumption by officers handling drugs in the field. All officers will
eventually get the kits.

Rich noted that the province is also issuing new guidelines that will
see police officers not attend the scene of overdoses except in cases
where paramedics fear for their lives. The idea is that the order will
increase the willingness of drug users to call 911.

While council heard from a range of voices on harm-reduction issues
and the current opioid overdose crisis, the creation of a safe
injection site in the region was only briefly discussed.

Fraser Health medical health officer Andrew Larder said the province
expected to see at least one safe injection site created in each
health region.

Rich also briefly touched on the subject, noting: "Good or bad, the
one thing that has never happened in a safe injection site in
Vancouver is nobody has ever died."

The News has filed freedom of information requests seeking records of
communication between Fraser Health and the City of Abbotsford
regarding the creation of the site, but requests to both public bodies
yielded no documents.
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