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

PART ONE: Surrey’s Matt Desrocher conquers demons with wrestling

After a rocky upbringing, Desrocher learned valuable lessons during his journey up wrestling’s ladder

Surrey’s Eric Basran named to 2018 Commonwealth Games

The 18-year-old was one of seven Canadians who were chosen to participate internationally

Surrey businesses surveyed about government red tape

City of Surrey best, feds the worst, according to respondents

Surrey driver crashes into tree after going into cardiac arrest

Westbound on 64th Avenue is closed at 144th Street

Have your say: Cloverdale-Langley City MP invites feedback on the 2018 Federal Budget

Four surveys available to provide feedback on ‘progress for middle class,’ gender equality and more

VIDEO: New series takes in-depth look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Black Press takes a hard look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Police appeal for info after girl, 11, hit in New Westminster crosswalk

Child was left with non-life threatening injuries

Horgan says pot smokers may face same outdoor rules as cigarette smokers

B.C. is developing its rules on recreational marijuana

B.C. teacher suspended after explicit images projected to class

Jeffrey Rohin Muthanna had been viewing porn on a school laptop for two years

Country-rockers Blackjack Billy to play ‘Raise ‘Em Up’ New Year’s Eve party

The ‘Booze Cruise’ band headlined Gone Country benefit concert in Surrey two summers ago

Man who pledged to give B.C. hockey team millions charged with fraud

Mike Gould has since repaid $8,000 he allegedly owed Cranbrook restaurant, owner says

UPDATED: Byelection lawsuit cost Langley City $27,000

Last-place candidate Serena Oh failed to convince the Supreme Court to hear her case.

Strong economy fuels housing sales in B.C.: report

Economist says demand for houses is being supported by a large number of millennials entering the market

Tequila, hammers and knives: what not to bring on an airplane

Vancouver International Airport staff provide tips on travelling during the holidays

Most Read