WATERLOO REGION - Sally has been taking drugs since her mother
introduced her to them when she was 14.
Today, the 26-year-old Kitchener woman is on methadone to curb her
But Sally, not her real name, still does illicit drugs like crystal
Her drug of choice is crack but last summer while looking for a hit,
she bought a "point" of fentanyl and injected it (a point is one-tenth
of a gram). She doesn't want to do it again but fears it could be
laced in the drugs she usually buys.
[continues 1298 words]
WATERLOO REGION - Five years ago, local paramedics responded to one
opioid overdose a week.
Now the rate is almost two overdoses every day.
"Where does it end?" says Robert Crossan, deputy chief of the Region
of Waterloo Paramedic Services.
The drug at the core of the crisis is fentanyl - a painkiller 80 times
stronger than morphine.
It's a pain medication prescribed and taken by patients through
But 'bootleg' fentanyl is coming in from China, and trace amounts - as
small as grains of salt - are being mixed with heroin and cocaine sold
on the streets.
[continues 1086 words]
In light of the recent death of popular Kanata teenager Chloe Kotval
from an apparent drug overdose, and warnings from Ottawa police and
Ottawa Public Health about counterfeit prescription drugs they suspect
have been the cause of "recent life-threatening overdoses" in the
city, on Saturday, concerned father Sean O'Leary posted an emotional
Facebook message about teen drug overdoses in Kanata.
Below is the text of his message:
To all whom are concerned, As many if not all of you are aware from
news reports a beautiful 14-year-old Kanata girl passed away this week
as a result of a drug overdose.
[continues 830 words]
The members of the Middlesex-London Board of Health endorsed Thursday
evening a motion to take the "next steps" to set up a
supervised-injection site for drug users in London.
That essentially means determining what the method will be for moving
forward with the project. As part of that, there will be a public
consultation before setting up any such site, including talking to the
people in the chosen neighbourhood, including residents and business.
The first part of the three-pronged motion covered accepting a
feasibility study. Dr. Gayanne Hovhannisyan, the acting medical
officer of health, led the discussion.
[continues 68 words]
Man, 28, died after being told downtown drop-in centre had no space
for him to sleep
The fatal overdose of a 28-year-old man, who left a downtown drop-in
centre he frequented after being told there was no room for him to
sleep, has left his friends and community reeling and searching for
The man, whom the Star is not identifying at this time without his
family's permission, often stayed at the St. Felix Centre, a
neighbourhood hub on Augusta Ave. where men and women can shower,
enjoy meals, receive counselling and use computers.
[continues 660 words]
Life-saving overdose antidote kits not available on Sundays, public
The city will put off a request to distribute more life-saving
anti-overdose kits until it finds out whether the provincial or
federal governments will cover the cost.
The city's public health department requested extra cash in 2017 to
expand distribution of naloxone, a life-saving medicine that reverses
the effects of overdose on opioid drugs like heroin and fentanyl.
The city already hands out kits on request and via the needle exchange
van, which travels around Hamilton during the week and on Saturdays
handing out clean needles.
[continues 354 words]
WATERLOO REGION - A group of parents sit around a small table. Their
eyes are red from crying.
Nearby are framed photos of the children they have lost to drug
overdoses. Among them are Iain Goddard, Brittany Cobbing and Austin
Janice Walsh-Goddard didn't even know what fentanyl was when she heard
it killed her son.
Iain Goddard died last May while Janice was in England on vacation.
She got the call on the last day of her weeklong trip.
[continues 1488 words]
The arrests on Thursday of a dozen people in Ottawa believed to be
involved in the trafficking of illicit opioids, coupled with the spike
in recent years of drug overdose deaths in this city, underscores the
need for greater public awareness, says Ottawa Public Health's manager
of clinical programs.
"We follow what's happening across Canada - in Vancouver and Alberta -
where they're seeing large increases in people dying from opioid
overdoses," Andrew Hendriks said.
In Ottawa in 2015, there were 48 deaths from unintentional drug
overdoses, a jump of 32 per cent over the previous year (the rest of
Ontario saw just a six-per-cent increase in the same period). Of the
48 Ottawa deaths, 29 were the result of opioid use, of which 14 were
attributable to fentanyl.
[continues 609 words]
A 28-year-old man is facing drug trafficking charges after police
raided his east-end Hamilton medical marijuana dispensary Tuesday.
Officers from Hamilton police's vice and drugs unit executed a search
warrant at MMJ Canada - located at 146 Ottawa St. N. - around 1 p.m.
and said they found about $100,000 worth of marijuana and marijuana
products, including edibles.
"It was determined that the operator of this dispensary was committing
the criminal acts of possession for the purpose of trafficking
marijuana and THC because they were selling or giving away marijuana
or marijuana derivatives from their location," police said in a release.
[continues 187 words]
Sick Kids' flawed Motherisk hair tests have shattered many lives, but
the case of a 10-year-old girl torn from her mother and left in 'legal
limbo' for almost half her life was shocking even to the judge who
heard the case. In his ruling, he delivered a searing indictment of a
broken system and apologized for a 'perfect storm' of errors and
incompetence that has left . . .
A 10-year-old girl has been in "legal limbo" for nearly half her life
after she was "wrongly apprehended" from her mother who had failed a
flawed drug test.
[continues 1526 words]
City has issued cease-and-desist order and threatened fines up to
Medical marijuana dispensary owners, employees and patients gathered
outside City Hall Wednesday in protest of the city's crackdown against
the businesses and to call for regulation.
The rally was organized in response to "cease and desist" letters the
city sent to 17 medical marijuana dispensaries last week.
The letters cited zoning infractions and come with a warning of fines
up to $50,000, plus up to $25,000 per day after a conviction.
[continues 365 words]
Hamilton man charged at Harvester Road unit
A Hamilton man has been charged after police raided a Burlington
business allegedly selling medical marijuana to people directly and
also to those without a licence to possess it.
Members of the Halton Regional Police Services Burlington Street Crime
Unit, in collaboration with City of Burlington bylaw enforcement,
conducted an investigation into Budtanica Pain Relief Group operating
out of 5125 Harvester Rd., Unit 1, east of Appleby Line.
Police and city officials allege the business was operating outside
the city's zoning bylaws, which requires premises used for the
growing, producing, testing, destroying, storing or distribution of
medical marijuana or cannabis be authorized and licensed by the
federal health ministry under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
[continues 239 words]
Last May, Ontario's minister of health, Dr. Eric Hoskins, announced
that Ontario would ensure pharmacies dispense Naloxone kits to anyone
at risk of an opioid overdose. At last count, seven pharmacies in
Peterborough are participating in this attempt to prevent these
tragedies from occurring in our communities. People using opioids,
whether prescribed or obtained illicitly, or their families and
friends, can now get a free rescue drug, Naloxone, to be used in the
event of a witnessed overdose. These access points are in addition to
the kits that have been available through public health, PARN and Fourcast.
[continues 518 words]
Volunteers clean up 1,000 discards a year in a city weighing
supervised drug injection site.
Tom Cull has more than 1,000 reasons - discarded needles - for London
to support a supervised drug injection site.
"We pick them up under bridges, along the watercourse, on the (river)
banks, in parks," he says.
Once a month, from the beginning of April to the start of winter, he
and his crew of volunteers with the Thames River Rally pick up garbage
along the river in London.
[continues 328 words]
Pot dispensary owners are holding a rally Wednesday in response to a
crackdown by the city's bylaw department.
Pacifico Life was one of 17 dispensaries to receive a "cease and
desist" letter from the city last week. Owner Tamara Hirsch says the
notice - which cites zoning infractions - went to her and her landlord.
The maximum fine, it notes, is $50,000 upon a conviction, and up to
$25,000 per day thereafter. And while no timeline is referenced for
this, the message is clear: close up shop.
[continues 383 words]
Maggie Reilly's rental properties were seized by government under
Civil Remedies Act
Maggie Reilly may be a small woman fighting a legal battle with
Goliath, but she's not going to quit.
Financially and emotionally drained after an eight-year court battle
with the attorney general that had her rental properties seized under
the Civil Remedies Act, Reilly insists she's going to keep fighting
until a judge orders the government to give it back.
"I'm not going to lie down," said Reilly, a soft-spoken redhead who
shows a glimpse of fire in her troubled blue eyes.
[continues 771 words]
Regarding the article "Set up safe needle site in London, study says"
If London is going ahead with safe injection sites why do we not get a
doctor or nurse practitioner to run it with the goal of weaning these
people off the drug?
Set it up so if they are enrolled in the program they will be safe
from prosecution, and if they do not sign up for it they will be
prosecuted if caught with it.
The ones signed up can sit down with the doctor when they first join
and they can figure out together how much they use a day, how many
times a day and how much each time. From there the doctor and addict
can set up a reduction plan so that each time they come in it can be
slightly reduced by so much a day for a week, and then each week after
reducing again slightly.
[continues 100 words]
Area OPP constables among those testing equipment measuring drug
LONG SAULT - SDG provincial police officers are testing cuttingedge,
high-tech equipment that will eventually be used to detect drivers who
are under the influence of drugs.
In this far-east portion of the East Region, Ontario Provincial Police
Consts. Pat Dussault and Mike Roy - both with the Highway Safety
Division unit - are the hands-on officers, testing two devices: a
Securetec drug reader, and an Alere mobile forensic test system.
[continues 486 words]
Last week, I wrote that unless we use Singapore's solution to hang
drug pushers, we will never defeat the opioid epidemic in North
America. This week, a strong response from readers.
A police officer in a major Canadian city writes, "Thank you for the
temerity to write this column. I wonder why we have a law that says a
drug is illegal, yet the law supervises injection sites to consume
illegal drugs!" He adds, "Unfortunately our law makers do not have the
gonads to protect citizens against flagrant abuses. Thanks for your
[continues 547 words]
Blood splatters on the door leading into second-storey apartment where
two men died seem to confirm the neighbours' worst fears.
Strange comings and goings at all hours of the day and night led
William Street neighbours to believe drugs were being bought or sold
from their neighbour's home.
"It's very disturbing and really unfortunate," said Debra, who asked
her last name not be used.
"I know it sounds cliche, but I said to my husband, 'don't you find it
odd that while we were sleeping two people were being killed a few
houses away?' "It's tragic." Debra grew up near the William Street
home where 19-year-old Nick Pasowisty and his 51-yearold father Jayme
were killed in the early hours of Wednesday.
[continues 496 words]
OHSWEKEN - Police say they are trying to determine whether cocaine
laced with fentanyl is circulating on Six Nations after one man died
of an overdose and a second man had to be rushed to hospital.
Six Nations police Chief Glenn Lickers said in a statement Thursday
that an investigation has been launched to determine the source of the
suspect cocaine ingested by both men.
"Investigators are trying to establish whether fentanyl was a factor
in both incidents," Lickers said.
"The investigation is focused on the possibility that the suspect
cocaine was contaminated with fentanyl. At present, the possibility
that cocaine laced with the lethal drug fentanyl is available in our
community cannot be ruled out."
[continues 268 words]
Despite a completely clean campus always being the goal, top brass at
Royal Military College are pleased with the results of a blind drug
test conducted in mid-October that weren't exactly perfect.
"Having now tangible, fact-based information is really great. It gives
us a good assessment of the current situation," Brig.-Gen. Sean
Friday, commandant of RMC, told the Whig-Standard on Wednesday. "The
whole idea of a blind drug test is so that we can get actual
information to see if our [Canadian Armed Forces] drug control program
at large is succeeding or not."
[continues 694 words]
Investigators ID 24 instances of dubious testing that led to children
being taken from families
A probe of child protection files involving flawed drug and alcohol
hair tests performed by the Hospital for Sick Children's Motherisk lab
has now identified 24 cases in which the results were a key factor in
removing children from their families.
While that represents a fraction of the more than 500 "high-priority"
child protection files the Motherisk Commission has so far examined,
the number is set to rise in the coming months as an additional 1,200
cases are targeted for review.
[continues 961 words]
A startling dissection of drug use in London - with the personal
illnesses and public ills exposed - has laid on the table a compelling
case for a supervised injection site in the city.
But the sticky questions of exactly where the site or sites should go,
whether the city can take the other steps necessary to make a site
worthwhile, and how crystal meth and fentanyl will play a role remain
The lead researcher of a study on providing supervised injection in
London did have one answer for residents still questioning the sanity
of giving people a place to inject their illicit drugs.
[continues 725 words]
Carleton students shared their opinions on upcoming pot regulations,
Sarah Macfarlane wrote.
The federal government is on track to legalize marijuana later this
year, which has some people debating the minimum age one should be
able to use and possess the drug legally.
A task force appointed by the government to investigate cannabis
legalization released a list of recommendations from its final report
in December, suggesting that cannabis should only be sold to people
who are 18 or older.
While some believe the drug is comparable to alcohol and should be
given similar rules, others are concerned about the effects of
marijuana on the brains of users under the age of 25.
[continues 659 words]
Even though supervised injection services have been deemed feasible
for Thunder Bay, many questions need to be answered before a facility
- - or possibly two - can become a reality.
The results of a Supervised Injection Services feasibility study were
presented Tuesday. The study recommends the city consider establishing
at least two sites in Thunder Bay, one in each of the north and south
Coun. Rebecca Johnson, chair of the Thunder Bay Drug Strategy, said
public consultation will be required to see if there is support before
any potential locations are examined.
[continues 844 words]
Amid rising HIV rates and an entrenched needle culture, London
researchers will unveil Wednesday a study on the value of a supervised
injection site in the city.
Researchers interviewed 200 people who are or were injection drug
users to assess people's willingness to use the sites and about 20
representatives from health care, law enforcement, government and
community organizations to get feedback.
"There are several general recommendations based on the results of the
study," but no specific direction to any agency or organization,
Western University researcher Ayden Scheim said Monday.
[continues 377 words]
With legislation to legalize marijuana expected in the spring, a new
player has emerged on London's increasingly crowded pot-dispensary
The Chronic Hub Social Club has opened at 119 Dundas St., the first
marijuana dispensary to set up shop in the city's core.
The new pot shop brings London's dispensary count to six, four of them
popping up after Justin Trudeau pledged in the 2015 election campaign
to legalize marijuana.
"It's just another reason to come downtown," said Charles Colvin,
chief executive of the Chronic Hub. "That's what you want in your
downtown core, is for people to be down there."
[continues 387 words]
SDG OPP constables among those road testing equipment that measures
LONG SAULT - SDG OPP officers are testing cutting-edge, high-tech
equipment that will eventually be used to detect drivers who are under
the influence of drugs.
In the far-east portion of the East Region, Consts. Pat Dussault and
Mike Roy - both with the Highway Safety Division unit - are the
hands-on officers, testing two devices: a Securetec drug reader, and
an Alere mobile forensic test system.
"It's an extra tool for us," Dussault said on Friday. "Anything that
helps us combat impaired driving from alcohol or drugs is welcome."
[continues 464 words]
KITCHENER - Mayors from a dozen cities across Canada, including
Kitchener, are on a newly formed task force to tackle the epidemic of
fentanyl overdose deaths.
"I wanted to make sure we were at the table," said Kitchener Mayor
Berry Vrbanovic. He asked to be a part of the task force at an Ottawa
meeting two weeks ago of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities'
Big City Mayors' Caucus.
The task force convenes mayors of 12 cities; Vancouver, Surrey,
Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Hamilton, London, Kitchener,
Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
[continues 230 words]
Ontario's paramedics will be sending a message to the province's
paramedic chiefs this week: we need to carry more naloxone in ambulances.
Naloxone blocks the effect of opioids on the brain, reversing the
effects on breathing. It can be used in an emergency to pull a drug
user who has stopped breathing from the brink of death.
Most Ontario ambulances, including those in Ottawa, carry two vials of
naloxone, as well as two respirators to treat patients who have
overdosed, said Darryl Wilton, president of the Professional Paramedic
Association of Ottawa.
[continues 340 words]
Cops close down Weeds dispensary
Ottawa police quietly forced the closure of a downtown marijuana
dispensary on Tuesday afternoon.
Police drew a security screen across the front window of the Weeds
dispensary to prevent passersby from seeing inside, but at least two
officers were visible gathering items and packing them into boxes.
Police confirmed the address for the shop, 224 Bank St., was the scene
of a "police operation" but would not elaborate.
Customers, who would not disclose their identities, were taken aback
by the closure, with many expressing frustration.
[continues 146 words]
Hearings for Rob Kamermans have been scheduled for February
Court proceedings are taking another step toward trial this week for a
former Coe Hill physician whose certificate to practise medicine was
revoked in July.
Court officials confirmed what is expected to be a round of extensive
pre-trial hearings is scheduled for Feb. 2 in the case of embattled
former doctor, Rob Kamermans, who has been on bail since he was
charged in 2012.
In July 2016, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
disciplinary committee revoked Dr. Kamermans' certificate of
[continues 327 words]
City firefighters are being equipped with the life-saving, anti-opioid
drug naloxone as a response to the growing number of over doses
happening in Barrie and across Simcoe County.
Barrie Fire and Emergency Service will be the first fire department in
Ontario to administer this medication, according to Fire Chief Bill
An overdose of opioid drugs - such as fentanyl, morphine, heroin,
methadone or oxycodone - can cause a person's breathing to slow or
"Our primary concern is always the safety and well-being of those
involved in any emergency we respond to," Boyes said. "We are already
attending these calls so there will be no increase in medical
responses as a result of our ability to administer naloxone, (but) it
will allow us to provide a life-saving intervention in a timely manner."
[continues 587 words]
WINDSOR - Joshua Jacquot says his employer won't allow him, during
working hours, to take the medication he needs to cope with depression
and anxiety because that medication is medical marijuana.
It's doctor-prescribed and legal, and according to the 23-year-old
assembly line worker, "it seems to be the only thing that works."
But he said when he informed Ventra Assembly several months ago he
wanted to take it at work, he was told, "no," to use regular
prescribed drugs instead. Jacquot said he's already tried them and
they don't help. He went off on sick leave in November, he said, and
continues to fight, because he can't use the medication he needs at
[continues 265 words]
The tide is turning on harm reduction. The reins of a new national drug
strategy are squarely in the hands of Health Canada. There are positive
signs legislators are abandoning ideology for evidence-based policy, and
stonewalling for action. Last year, the opioid crisis claimed 916 lives in
The momentum for supervised injection sites builds on other initiatives,
including methadone treatment and a growing network of needle-exchange
programs, officially around since 1989.
Harm reduction measures help decrease health risks for drug users at all
stages of addiction and recovery. Measurable outcomes include reduced
transmission of HIV and hepatitis C through needle sharing, fewer overdose
deaths and greater access to addiction recovery supports.
[continues 454 words]
Walking into Pacifico Health and Wellness in Westdale feels much like
walking into a spa: white walls, exposed wood beams, chic lighting,
and calm atmosphere.
Nevermind the fact that it's a medical marijuana dispensary.
Tamara Hirsch seems like an unlikely advocate for a controversial
industry that exists in a legal grey area. The mom of two, who has
blond hair and elfin looks, has opened two successful medical
marijuana dispensaries in Hamilton in the past year - one on James
Street North and the second in Westdale - and says she'd like to open
[continues 575 words]
It's not really anyone's fault that medical marijuana dispensaries
exist in a legislative Wild West zone. Dispensing medical pot to
people with the appropriate documentation is legal. Selling pot
products to anyone else is still not legal.
But it will be fairly soon, once the federal government and the
provinces get together and hammer out distribution channels and a host
of other serious questions and issues. Canada is not yet ready for
legalized marijuana. It will be soon, which is why entrepreneurs
across the nation are trying to stay ahead of the game, and
dispensaries are sprouting at a great rate. Hamilton has something
like 15, major centres such as Toronto and Vancouver have
[continues 368 words]
RE: Seeing through the fog on marijuana (Jan. 24)
Excellent article by Howard Elliott on marijuana legalization. It also
reinforces my belief that marijuana dispensaries in Ontario will all
be outlawed if pot is legalized.
The legalization of marijuana will not be welcome for the powerful
lobbyists of pharmaceutical industries because they will lose profits.
The breweries and distilleries will also lose profits because they are
in charge of the "feel good" industry and don't want people buying pot
instead of liquor or beer.
[continues 106 words]
RE: Seeing through the fog on marijuana (Jan. 24)
Editorial chair Howard Elliott has created more fog for Spec readers.
Try facts: The fact is Health Canada doesn't allow storefronts! Even
licensed producers have to ship it. All "dispensaries" are illegal.
Trudeau is causing havoc by not decriminalizing cannabis ... pending
Mark Volterman, Hamilton
Two Oro-Medonte men were arrested this week for growing marijuana,
despite having a licence to grow
Angered over an "unjust" police raid over medicinal marijuana, two
Oro-Medonte men feel victimized after being arrested at their home and
taken away in handcuffs.
"We're two sick and injured people who were taken to jail," Christian
Gadsden, 36, said Wednesday outside the Orillia OPP detachment, a day
after police raided the Line 13 home he shares with Larry Parisien.
"It was scary, incredibly scary," said the 62-year-old Parisien,
adding he suffers from a range of ailments including fibromyalgia and
has been prescribed medicinal marijuana for close to seven years.
[continues 411 words]
Sgt. Dan Mulligan fought charges of discreditable conduct,
An OPP sergeant who stood before two professional standards bureau
tribunals in the fall has found out his fate in both cases.
Sgt. Dan Mulligan, a 30-year veteran of the OPP, has been found guilty
of two counts of discreditable conduct, one count of breach of
confidence and one count of insubordination stemming from the two
hearings. He was found not guilty on a second count of
Supt. Greg Walton heard the case for one count of discreditable
conduct and two counts of insubordination, Nov. 28 and 29 in Orillia.
Walton issued his ruling Monday.
[continues 772 words]
The search of a teenager by Sarnia police as a common practice for
detained persons was ruled unlawful leading to dismissal of drug
charges in Sarnia court this week. Sarnia police were raiding a family
member's house in 2015 when the adult teenager was seen leaving the
premise. The teenager was detained by an officer and asked if he had
anything to harm an officer. The teen said he had cocaine and "weed."
A search - which the officer testified was for officer safety - turned
up cocaine and marijuana.
[continues 211 words]
Worker ponders taking case to human rights commission
Joshua Jacquot says his employer won't allow him during working hours
to take the medication he needs to cope with depression and anxiety
because that medication is medical marijuana.
It's doctor-prescribed and legal, and according to the 23-year-old
assembly line worker, "it seems to be the only thing that works."
But he said when he informed Ventra Assembly several months ago that
he wanted to take it at work, he was told, "no," to use regular
prescribed drugs instead. He said he's already tried them and they
don't help. He went off on sick leave in November, he said, and
continues to fight, because he can't use the medication he needs at
[continues 576 words]
Safe injection sites, stronger antidote expected to be discussed
during 'frank' discussion on growing crisis
For a long time, Chrissy Hawkins's drug of choice was
Hers was an addiction that started at age nine with doctor-prescribed
Valium and spiralled out of control throughout her adult life.
But today, at 62 years old, she is 13 years sober and a prolific
volunteer with outreach agencies including Elizabeth Fry, the Mental
Health Rights Coalition and public health's needle exchange van.
[continues 740 words]
Another week, another massive study by top doctors and scientists
finding limited medicinal value to marijuana. When liberal politicians
such as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Vancouver Mayor Gregor
Robertson claim to be implementing "evidence-based" public policy, I
find it odd they have such a blind spot with pot.
A new report by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering,
and Medicine - The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The
Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research - reviewed
10,700 studies on the medicinal qualities of marijuana and concluded
there is "conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or
cannabinoids are effective" for only three conditions: chronic pain in
adults, chemotherapy-induced nausea, and patient-reported multiple
[continues 414 words]
Last May, when police raided illegal pot shops across Toronto, Mayor
John Tory said he was worried about their alarming proliferation near
schools and in residential neighbourhoods. "We cannot just have the
Wild West when it comes to dispensaries cropping up on every street
corner," he said.
The mayor was right at the time. Distressingly, his concerns now seem
understated after police made clear this week just how dangerous these
shops can be to their customers, staff and neighbours.
Clients and employees alike have been stabbed, beaten, pistol-whipped
and pepper-sprayed in the course of 13 armed robberies in the past
eight months at illegal pot shops. And those are just the thefts that
police know about.
[continues 433 words]