Delta Police equipped with naloxone as fentanyl crisis continues

Officers will now carry naloxone nasal spray kits in case of accidental exposure to fentanyl or being first on scene at opioid overdoses.

The Delta Police Department is equipping its officers with naloxone kits in case of exposure to fentanyl. Narcan

As the fentanyl crisis rages on throughout the Lower Mainland, the Delta Police Department is equipping its officers with naloxone kits to help keep them – and the public  – safe.

The DPD expected to have all at-risk staff to be trained and personally issued, or have access to, Narcan (a brand of naloxone) nasal spray kits by Dec. 14. This includes not only front-line patrol officers but others throughout the organization who may be exposed to fentanyl while carrying out their duty, such as drug section members, exhibits management staff and most other sections within the department.

Delta’s police board gave preliminary approval to outfit officers with naloxone on Sept. 15 following the first of two community forums on fentanyl held to address a string of overdoses in the municipality. Roll-out of the DPD’s naloxone protocol began in mid-November at a cost of $30,000 for the kits and training.

“We are very fortunate in that our police board is very responsive to emerging issues, such as the fentanyl crisis,” said Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord. “We have been in a position to mobilize a strategy that would equip our officers and staff with naloxone to be in a position to offer a potentially lifesaving measure in overdose cases.”

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 100 times more powerful than morphine. It’s used legitimately in hospitals as a painkiller and prescribed in the form of prescription patches for long-term pain management.

A lethal dose of pure fentanyl is estimated to be about two milligrams for a typical adult, the equivalent of a couple of grains of salt, so the risk to users is extremely high.

To make matters worse, fentanyl cannot be detected by look, smell or taste, and dealers seldom tell users they are selling fentanyl-laced product.

Because of its potency and relatively low cost, fentanyl has in recent years been used increasingly by drug dealers to cut their product and maximize their profits. The small amount needed also makes it easier to smuggle into the country.

“The problem with fentanyl is it doesn’t take a lot of fentanyl to produce a lot of street-level drugs. So, for instance, if you think of [how] two milligrams or two grains of salt is enough to kill you, think of [how far] a pound of fentanyl could go,” said Delta Police Sgt. Dave Vaughan-Smith at September’s fentanyl forum.

“Dealers, it’s all about making money for these guys and that’s why fentanyl is so lucrative for them; a small amount goes a really long way and produces a lot of drugs. So fentanyl can be easily smuggled in just because of its size and the way it’s packaged and created.”

Fentanyl is used widely as a cutting agent in heroin and counterfeit oxycodone pills, but has been increasingly found in street level cocaine and other drugs.

A total of 128 total people died from illicit drug overdose deaths in November – the highest monthly death total in 2016.

The newest stats bring the year-to-date death toll to 755 people, compared to 443 for the same time period in 2015.

Fentanyl has been detected in 374 deaths this year, or about 60 per cent. This is triple the amount from same time period last year.

Those numbers are expected to go up as provincial chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said December so far is looking like a “bad month.”

– With files from Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press

Just Posted

Fluterrific returning to North Delta Rec Centre

The annual flute concert will showcase music from all genres on Sunday, Nov. 18

Surrey Community Leader Awards winners revealed

The 16th CLA awards, presented by the Now-Leader, recognized Surrey’s un-sung heroes

MPs meet with Surrey council to discuss RCMP, LRT

Federal government to have quarterly meetings with Surrey

WATCH: Goalie from North Delta scores in AHL hockey game

Tristan Jarry makes history for Penguins by hitting an empty net

Hogg curious if a new recreation centre is needed in Grandview Heights

South Surrey-White Rock MP to host a Town Hall Meeting tonight

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Regulatory confusion over ‘toxic’ stink near Abbotsford school

Officials sniffing out which regulators responsible for enforcing compliance at neighbouring property

Most Read