The provincial health officer is asking B.C. schools to consider
The provincial health officer is recommending B.C. schools - including
those in Sea to Sky area - obtain the tools to deal with opioid overdoses.
A letter sent to superintendents across B.C. said that while schools
aren't considered high-risk environments, they are advised to have
naloxone kits and train staff to use them.
This advisory comes in the midst of what provincial health officer Dr.
Perry Kendall has called a "public health emergency" - the use of
fentanyl has been blamed for a sharp increase in the amount of deaths
from drug overdoses.
[continues 347 words]
Chief medical examiner's office pores over deaths in opioid fight
EDMONTON - In the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner each morning,
medical examiners, investigators, and morgue staff divide the stack of
files containing unexplained deaths that have come in from the night
Five years ago, this department, headquartered in a low-slung grey
building in Edmonton, investigated between 1,900 to 2,000 cases a year.
But in the last couple of years the caseload has jumped to between
2,500 to 2,600 annually - the bulk of that increase, officials say, is
due to fentanyl and other opioid deaths.
[continues 1507 words]
Urged to declare an emergency, province promises "significant
resources and supports"
The opioid drug crisis flaring up in Southwestern Ontario is becoming
so bad across the province, hundreds of doctors, nurses and others are
pushing Queen's Park to declare an emergency.
In an open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne Monday, the health workers
say limited resources and poor data are preventing them from
responding properly to a disturbing, sustained increase in overdoses.
"The consequences have been clear: lives lost, families destroyed and
harm reduction and health care worker burnout," they write.
[continues 794 words]
Largest drug seizure in OPP history has three men facing charges
ORILLIA - The OPP showed off the largest ever drug seizure of its
nearly 110- year history Monday morning.
Three men have been arrested, accused of importing 1,062 kilograms of
pure cocaine. The drugs were displayed by police during a press
conference in four specially constructed glass containers, each with a
dimension of about four feet tall by eight feet wide.
"This is a massive seizure, bigger than I've ever seen in my 33 years
of policing," OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes said during the press
conference at OPP Headquarters in Orillia.
[continues 825 words]
Re: Winnipeg in grips of meth problem, say police (Aug. 27)
Winnipeg police spokesman Const. Jay Murray is wrong when he says "the
majority of property crime in the city is related to the
methamphetamine subculture." Drug prohibition is responsible, just as
it was when cocaine was the drug de jour in the past.
The drug problem boils down to some people want to use those drugs and
other people don't want them to.
The short of it is that it is none of your business what drugs the
next door neighbours are using since none of that use harms you.
Repeal drug prohibition and the majority of property crime would end
since these drugs that people want could be obtained for cheap and of
a known purity at the local pharmacy.
Temporary clinic has been open for a week in building at Victoria and
It has been nearly one week since Toronto opened its first city-run
site for people to use illegal intravenous drugs and, so far, three
dozen people have used the controversial service.
"We are thrilled to be offering this life-saving service to the
community," Dr. Rita Shahin, Toronto Public Health's associate medical
officer of health, said Saturday.
"The very first client that we had when we opened our doors, to us,
represents a potential life that we may have saved. We had 36 visits
in just five days, which . . . represents a great success. We look
forward to more people becoming aware of the service and helping more
people in our community."
[continues 560 words]
Temporary space a stopgap until the three planned permanent sites open
Toronto has taken a controversial step to combat overdose deaths,
opening its first city-run site for people to use illegal intravenous
"It provides a safe environment for people who are going to use
drugs," Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's chief public health official,
told reporters outside the building at Victoria and Dundas Sts. that
already houses The Works needle-exchange program.
"We know both through research and lived experience it's highest risk
for overdose and deaths when people . . . use alone," she said. "We
provide a safe environment, a supervised environment for people to use
their drugs safely, so they minimize harm to themselves."
[continues 439 words]
Alberta's justice minister says the province's law enforcement
communities are having to "constantly" adapt in their efforts to
combat the evolving methods of illicit drugmanufacturers.
Following news that health workers have found possible fentanyl-laced
stickers in Calgary and Edmonton, Kathleen Ganley said police are
doing a "very good job" of staying on top of drug trends. That
vigilance is key, Ganley says.
"It's like this with most types of drugs, they're sort of constantly
adapting to continue to try to keep those hidden and we're having to
constantly adapt to continue to try to find those. We'll continue to
use intelligence to move forward."
[continues 83 words]
Alberta shepherds in new era in global fight against fentanyl
INNISFAIL - Alberta is leading the world in fentanyl detection, having
developed the first safe method for police dogs to detect the deadly
All but one of the 136 drug-detecting dogs schooled at the RCMP
facility just north of Calgary have been trained to aid in the
fentanyl crisis that's taking thousands of live.
The RCMP developed a liquid solution for training because powdered
fentanyl was too dangerous.
The equivalent of just two grains of salt is enough to kill someone
and was the reason agencies across the world didn't attempt to develop
the solution themselves, said Staff Sgt. Gary Creed, senior trainer
for the RCMP police dog service.
[continues 219 words]
Last month, you could hear the collective global gasp when news broke
that eminent Zen Buddhist Michael Stone had passed away in Victoria,
B.C. The shock was a natural reaction to the unexpected death of a
beloved force of nature, a powerful communicator who, through his
ability to make ancient spiritual ideas fresh and relevant, helped
improve the lives of countless people around the world.
Stone left behind a wife and two children - with another on the way -
and would have celebrated his 43rd birthday this past Saturday. But
what also caused thousands of jaws to drop from the news was the
Stone's cause of death: the charismatic, world-renowned and respected
yoga/meditation/mindfulness expert, author, and speaker - who founded
the Centre of Gravity in Toronto-died after OD-ing on street drugs.
[continues 1019 words]
Two local mothers are bringing awareness to the rippling effect drugs
leave on families by sharing the stories of their own children
enveloped in the throes of addiction.
Opening a public discussion about drug addiction is how mothers Shawna
Taylor of Airdrie and Christina Sackett of Crossfield first connected.
"There are so many families being affected," Taylor said. "I think the
stigma is so incredible that people are embarrassed to come forward.
It took us a long time."
Taylor has been married to her husband Jeff for 23 years and said the
two raised their daughter, Kenedee, and son, Nathan, to respect
curfews and stay away from drugs.
[continues 992 words]
On top of city, region and provincial efforts, Matt Brown makes new
bid to tackle local crisis, issues
Another drug crisis, another drug strategy.
In the midst of an ongoing London drug strategy, a regional drug
strategy and a provincial drug strategy - none of them completed yet -
the city's mayor wants his own drug strategy.
But the new effort will be nimble with a concrete focus, battling
opioid overdoses and other problems in large part through the
establishment of a supervised injection site, city health leaders promise.
[continues 571 words]
Five people in two days sent to hospital after taking drugs believed
to be laced with fentanyl
Local health officials are raising the alarm after a string of
fentanyl overdoses this week.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, five people, including three in Kingston,
were sent to hospital after taking drugs believed to be laced with
"What we know is all five did require paramedic services and support
in hospital, and we believe that they are related to
fentanyl-contaminated drugs, just from the clinical signs and symptoms
we saw," said Fareen Karachiwalla, associate medical officer of health
with Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Public Health.
[continues 740 words]
The people who want to walk the riverside trails in Galt without being
confronted by the discarded syringes of drug addicts have every right
to voice concern.
I don't blame them one bit for wanting to reclaim their community and
asking that it be cleaned up.
Robin Thomas, who carries her dog in order to protect it from stepping
on drug paraphernalia, often sees clothes and backpacks stowed in the
underbrush. Sometimes she even sees people who are "almost comatose."
[continues 489 words]
Cambridge mayor says group will offer solutions, but will take 'whole
community to solve this problem'
CAMBRIDGE - Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig says he's creating a city task
force to find solutions to the fentanyl crisis plaguing his city.
The city initiative has been in the works for three months, said
Craig, and is not a "knee-jerk" reaction to recent comments made by
Cambridge coroner Dr. Hank Nykamp.
Nykamp, a coroner since 1985, said Cambridge is becoming the drug
capital of Ontario with "drug houses" and "crystal meth factories."
[continues 630 words]
Drug use, disposed syringes a concern in downtown Galt
CAMBRIDGE - Robin Thomas often holds her pet Chihuahua in her arms
when she takes him for a walk on the trail along the Grand River
behind her condo building.
She's afraid her dog will step on used syringes that litter the brush
near the trail.
Thomas lives at The Grand Condominium at Waterscape on Water Street.
She moved there almost two years because she wanted to live in
downtown Galt and was attracted to the view of the river from her balcony.
[continues 922 words]
Property crimes of all sorts have increased in 2016, according to
statistics included within the Medicine Hat Police's 2016 annual
report published last week - numbers police say are linked together
with the increased amount of meth and opiates being seen in the city.
"The biggest thing is thefts of convenience," said Insp. Brent
Secondiak of the MHPS. "They will take stuff to make money that's
convenient for them ... they won't do a lot of work for it."
"They will steal stuff from vehicles that are left open, they'll steal
stuff from bicycles left in the yard."
[continues 346 words]
A "huge spike" in opiate and methamphetamine seizures this past year
poses a deadly and multifaceted problem for local law enforcement,
says a police inspector.
"We are hugely concerned with meth," said Insp. Brent Secondiak,
speaking about the 2016 annual police report released last week.
In 2016, police seized 52.5 grams of heroin and 1,474 grams of meth, a
563 per cent and 300 per cent increase from 2015 respectively.
While fentanyl has made headlines across Canada for its deadliness,
Secondiak said it hasn't been a problem in Medicine Hat compared to
[continues 499 words]
CAMBRIDGE - Cambridge coroner Dr. Hank Nykamp is tired of political
rhetoric and inaction as the local fentanyl crisis deepens.
The longtime city doctor has been a Cambridge coroner since 1985. He
has seen the best and worst of the city during his career. He loves
this city, but believes more must be done to stem the growing number
of opioid overdose cases crossing his examination table.
"Five years ago it was oxycodone. Now it's fentanyl and carfentanil,
which is even more powerful and used to knock out elephants," he said.
"Something needs to be done and we can't wait on the
[continues 836 words]
The provincial government has begun to amp its plans for when the
federal cannabis legislation comes into effect next year by July 1st.
The Alberta Government is currently conducting a survey asking
Albertans how they would like to see cannabis use and distribution be
implemented in this province.
Alberta Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kathleen Ganley said
July 1st, 2018 is an ambitious timeline, however this provincial
survey - which has already had over 35,000 respondents - will help
provincial legislation reflect the values of Albertans.
[continues 626 words]