Of the $8.65 million in illegal drugs the Alberta Law Enforcement
Response Team (ALERT) pulled off of Alberta's streets, well over half
of it was marijuana.
"Marijuana remains highly profitable for organized crime," said Insp.
Dave Dubnyk with ALERT. "It's traded for other drugs, used for
financing illegal enterprises."
According to information in the 2016-17 ALERT annual report,
investigators seized $5.4-million worth of marijuana last year.
Dubnyk said while ALERT officers may not be specifically targeting
marijuana, it is often discovered during other investigations
involving illegal drugs and organized crime.
[continues 251 words]
The lethal danger of fentanyl is becoming well-known. No one knows
precisely how many people die per year in Canada from opioid
overdoses. Last year, there were 922 opioid overdose deaths in B.C.
alone, and more than 340 overdose deaths in Alberta were specifically
from fentanyl. While Saskatchewan numbers are much smaller and their
official count is unclear at this point, the drug's lethal toll may
well be on the rise in this province as well; it is clearing coming
east from the coast and from Alberta.
[continues 576 words]
Scientists, public health experts and volunteers working with them
have started to show up at music festivals, concerts, raves and other
public gatherings where illicit drugs are frequently used. Equipped
with special chemical testing kits, they help attendees test pills and
powder for purity in real time so people can make better informed
decisions about whether to take them.
The practice - more common in Europe than in the United States - is
controversial, and the debate has been similar to the early days of
needle-exchange programs in the 1980s. Proponents argue harm
reduction. They say people are more likely to reject taking drugs to
get high if the substances do not contain what they think they do,
which reduces the risk of overdose and other harmful effects. Critics
say such programs implicitly encourage the use of illegal drugs.
[continues 580 words]
This lethal drug makes a discussion urgent, writes Dr. Richard
The dangers of fentanyl as a frequently used mood-modifying,
recreational drug, on its own or laced into other opiates are
gradually becoming well known.
The substance has recently gained a reputation as the Grim Reaper of
illicit drugs. The number of deaths and near deaths originating with
fentanyl use is simply shocking. Surely parents must initiate a
serious discussion with their children and teens about this and other
drug use. In this case, talk is, arguably, the primary preventive measure.
[continues 595 words]
"People doing drugs now are dope-sick and it's so painful, you'd
rather die." - Constance Barnes, Overdose Prevention Society
The day you read this column, four people in British Columbia will die
of a drug overdose, two-thirds due to the powerful opioid fentanyl.
That means 1,500 people will die in just one year. It's the equivalent
of four jumbo jets loaded with passengers crashing at Vancouver
International Airport in 12 months - unthinkable.
Yet many people ask: Why would anyone in their right mind play Russian
roulette with their life by taking cocaine, ecstasy or heroin that
could be laced with deadly fentanyl?
[continues 303 words]
Taking party drug ecstasy may help boozers break their addiction to
Scientists are set to carry out the first ever trial to see whether
the controlled substance can help treat heavy drinkers.
A group of patients from England will be given two doses of MDMA --
another name for ecstasy -- over the course of two months.
The trial has just received approval from regulators in the United
It is the first in the world to use ecstasy to treat alcohol
[continues 379 words]
Health Canada issued a warning Thursday about drug use during the
summer festival season amid the worsening overdose crisis.
"While music festivals and other summer parties are a great way to
celebrate the season, it is important to consider safety, especially
when it comes to drugs and alcohol," said the health agency in a
statement. It included tips on safe drug use, how to spot and respond
an overdose, and a reminder of the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act,
which provides legal protections for those in possession of drugs when
they seek help.
[continues 430 words]
DRUG bust worth about a quarter of a million dollars has been tossed
out of court because city police violated the charter rights of two
men they detained and subjected to a warrantless search.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Sheldon Lanchbery dismissed all drug
trafficking charges against Benjamin James White and Jaden Joshua
Omeasoo earlier this month, after he ruled officers violated their
rights every step of the way.
"We will never know how this incident may have evolved if those rights
had been provided," Lanchbery said in his decision. "The officers are
[continues 471 words]
I t was terrific to see leaders from Surrey RCMP and the Surrey School
District offer parents such common-sense advice this week about the
drug crisis afflicting our communities.
School Superintendent Jordan Tinney and Assistant Commissioner Dwayne
McDonald urged parents to talk to their kids about the extremely high
level of risk posed by street drugs these days and not to assume that
their little darlings aren't experimenting with them.
The warning came a few days after Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry
Kendall made a similar plea, noting that 19 B.C. teenagers have died
of overdoses since January 2016 and concerned that teenage drug use
may rise soon with year-end parties and summer concerts.
[continues 637 words]
VANCOUVER - Drug users are the solution to addressing overdose deaths
and providing services to people before they die alone, says a woman
who attended a meeting of health professionals in Vancouver trying to
develop new strategies to deal with a growing crisis in B.C.
Karen Ward, a board member of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug
Users, was among about 20 drug users who joined doctors, including the
provincial health officer, and the chief coroner at the all-day
[continues 600 words]
Last Friday afternoon the House of Commons adjourned for the day with
a rare event - a unanimous vote in favour of a private members bill
from an opposition party.
Bill C-211 instructs the government to create a federal framework to
better deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
I've heard a lot about PTSD from people in my riding - it may surprise
some how serious a problem this is in our communities, how widespread
and how debilitating. And it bears repeating that PTSD not only
impacts men and women who have served in our armed forces in actions
[continues 437 words]
Educating teenagers about the safety of recreational drug use is an
age-old conundrum for Canada, one at the forefront as the country
pushes ahead with legalizing marijuana by next year
The ad shows four pretty young women laughing as their convertible
rips past the picturesque Rockies on a warm sunny day, the driver -
eyes narrowed slightly - joyfully passing a doobie to her friend.
In the next one, a hip young guy with high-top dreadlocks pinches a
smouldering joint (backwards) in one hand and adjusts the car stereo
with his other as his date leaves her house and approaches in a red
[continues 1238 words]
The Sunshine Coast's medical health officer says it would be a mistake
to draw any conclusions from a slight drop in the number of overdoses
being reported at Sechelt Hospital.
"We have more work to do," said Dr. Paul Martiquet. "We don't want to
give any false sense of reassurance to the community that we aren't
exposed to what the Downtown Eastside is - because we are."
Provincial statistics show April was the second-worst month on record
for illicit drug overdose deaths in B.C., with 136.
[continues 431 words]
In the wake of the death of a 16-year-old New Westminister girl, who
died on May 26 of an overdose, Island Health Medical Health Officer
Dr. Paul Hasselback advises people wanting to take party drugs of the
risks involved with uncontrolled substances.
Angel Loyer-Lawrence and a friend thought they were taking the party
drug MDMA, also known as Ecstasy, when Lawrence overdosed and died.
Her friend was also taken to the hospital but survived.
"Any uncontrolled substance is purchased with risk associated with it.
Unfortunately we do see tragic events such as what recently occurred
(in New Westminister)," Hasselback said. "There was some reporting out
of Victoria of a pharmacy that was doing some lab testing that's
showing fentanyl being incorporated into MDMA, which is Ecstasy, and I
think that really speaks to the drug trade."
Hasselback said there are risks of an overdose any time fentanyl is
added into other drugs.
"On the other hand
even if we just had well-controlled, quality drugs
here there are risks associated with them as well," he said.
'The new reality': Fentanyl test strips and naloxone kits are part of
Vancouver Island music festivals are stepping up harm-reduction
measures with fentanyl test strips, more naloxone kits and outreach in
light of B.C.'s drug overdose crisis.
"If you're a festival organizer, it's imperative to have this on your
radar. This is the new reality," said Emmalee Brunt, communications
manager for the Tall Tree Music Festival.
The festival takes place in Port Renfrew from June 23 to 26 and is
expected to draw about 3,000 people.
[continues 715 words]
Experts discuss how educators can curb risks
Feeling connected is critical to avoiding problem substance use. Cindy
As New Westminster School District students continue to grapple with a
tragedy that took the life of one of its 16-year-old students this
week, and nearly killed another, experts have said their overdoses are
a "call to action" for all schools.
Both teens overdosed on an "unknown" substance they wrongly believed
was the party drug MDMA, local police said.
In Vancouver, several schools and teachers have been issued overdose
reversal kits and training, Metro has learned. Several districts'
substance use counsellors are raising awareness of fentanyl overdoses,
and some teens even trained on overdose symptoms and first aid.
[continues 307 words]
Local school boards may bring 'opioid antagonist' into schools to deal
with possible overdoses
Local school boards are considering following their neighbours and
potentially bringing naloxone into local schools in the face of the
opioid overdose crisis.
On Tuesday, the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario
announced the overdose kits would be placed in all of its schools,
located in the easternmost counties of Ontario and including the
cities of Brockville and Cornwall.
"We hope that these kits will never need to be used, but in the event
that they are needed, the naloxone will help to buy time for someone
experiencing an opioid overdose until first responders arrive,"
William Gartland, the board's director of education, said.
[continues 1000 words]
Drug use among teens is nothing new. But street drugs are a bigger
threat than ever, because they can be laced with deadly substances.
The Spectator investigates what youth are using, and how to identify
A GIRL is hanging out with friends after school. One of them has
stolen a gram of marijuana from an older brother. They pass around a
pipe. It is her first time getting high. She is 14.
A 15- YEAR-OLD walks through the hall at school. He sees a classmate
selling cannabis-edibles out of a backpack and a friend making a
purchase. A GIRL is invited to meet up with friends behind her school.
Someone lights a joint and passes it to her. She is in Grade 7.
[continues 1911 words]
Introduced to the dangers of narcotics during public seminar held
Parents need to be involved and informed to help lower the risk of
accidental drug overdoses among young people.
That was the message heard Tuesday night at a public seminar organized
by Hastings Prince Edward Public Health at Bridge Street United Church.
About 50 people attended the talk, which was intended as an
introduction for parents to the dangers of opioids, also known as
narcotics. They include such drugs as codeine, morphine, oxycodone and
[continues 591 words]
Independent local researchers are raising money for the third phase of
a groundbreaking study that uses the party drug ecstasy to treat
patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The study combines psychotherapy with the use of MDMA, which "enhances
the effectiveness of the psychotherapy by helping patients to access
and rework the unconscious painful emotions and memories in a safe
environment," according to the researchers.
MDMA has already shown promise as an adjunct to psychotherapy,
according to the prestigious Lancet Psychiatry medical journal. A
randomized controlled pilot study published in the Journal of
Psychopharmacology found that 83 per cent of PTSD patients responded
positively to psychotherapy combined with MDMA compared with just 25
per cent in the group that received psychotherapy alone.
[continues 146 words]