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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Surrey-area associations gear up for hockey restart

But it’s not yet clear when city-operated rinks and rec centres will reopen

Surrey Mounties seize shotgun, ammo, after officers shot at with BB gun in Newton

Police say they were on foot patrol in the 6400-block of King George Boulevard when someone fired at them with a BB gun

Rugby practices to return to Lower Mainland fields this fall

B.C. Rugby announced its return to play plan July 7

Delta man charged with arson in relation to New Year’s Day fire in Tsawwassen

The blaze at 5405 12th Ave. destroyed a building containing two dentist offices and a music school

White Rock calls for street-banner artists

Deadline to apply is 4 p.m. July 24

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Investigation clears RCMP in incident where man fell from Langley overpass

‘Officers acted commendably and placed themselves at risk’ police watchdog report finds

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Rural Chilliwack residents asked to stay indoors, lock doors amid heavy police presence

Heavy police presence in rural Chilliwack neighbourhood as RCMP contend with ‘serious situation’

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Most Read