Education is key says RCMP of­fi­cer

The Merge hosts fen­tanyl in­for­ma­tion ses­sion

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - CLASSIFIED - BY COLIN FAR­RELL

If there was ever a time peo­ple needed to talk to their kids about drugs it is now.

The im­por­tance of education and com­mu­ni­ca­tion were the key top­ics dur­ing an in­for­ma­tion ses­sion on the drug fen­tanyl held at The Merge on Feb. 9.

Staff Sgt. Dale Foote, of the Burin Penin­sula de­tach­ment of the RCMP, was one of the speak­ers for the evening.

“Ev­ery­one thinks that the over­dose at the hospi­tal is go­ing to be the in­di­vid­ual that is ad­dicted to drugs; that’s not (al­ways) that case,” said Foote dur­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion.

“We’re liv­ing in a time right now where the types of drugs peo­ple are us­ing are lethal if they’re in­haled by any­body, they’re lethal if some one comes in con­tact with them — that’s very im­por­tant for our teenagers to know.”

Foote said that is the mes­sage he wants teenagers and chil­dren around the Burin Penin­sula to hear.

Foote ex­plained fen­tanyl is pre­scribed as a pain med­i­ca­tion, com­monly in the form of a slow re­lease patch, how­ever, he said it is also pro­duced il­le­gally.

“That’s the big­gest part of what we’re see­ing is the il­le­gal form and it’s the one that we re­ally need to be fear­ful of,” he said.

The of­fi­cer said the il­le­gally pro­duced drug can be pressed into pills, de­signed to mimic other le­gal med­i­ca­tions, or it can be found in a pow­der form.

Foote ex­plained lo­cally, it has been con­firmed that pills marked with a CDN on one side and the num­ber 10 on the other are be­ing sold lo­cally.

“They were mis­rep­re­sented as Oxy 10’s,” Foot said. “There is no pill made (that are) Oxy 10’s.

“The per­son sell­ing the drug ac­tu­ally had a snap­shot of a Google page on their phone when they were sell­ing it to try and con­vince the per­son buy­ing it.”

Foote also said that un­con­firmed in­for­ma­tion they have re­ceived leads them to be­lieve fen­tanyl can also be found in some of the co­caine be­ing sold on the penin­sula.

“When they make pills, they are un­able to de­ter­mine how much fen­tanyl is go­ing in each one of these tablets,” said Foote. “There could be a very, very small amount of fen­tanyl in the ac­tual pill when it’s pressed . . . there could be none.”

Foote said this could be dan­ger­ous be­cause the user doesn’t get the high they are look­ing for and may take an­other tablet.

“The sec­ond one could be a lethal dose,” he warned.

It only takes a small amount of fen­tanyl to be con­sid­ered a fa­tal dose — an amount the size of two grains of salt.

“Cal­gary po­lice have seized pills that have had enough fen­tanyl to kill some­one three times over,” said Foote. “That’s just in one tablet.”

He added it may also be mixed with other forms of com­monly abused drugs such as co­caine, oxy­cotin, and even mar­i­juana.

Foote said the mes­sage he would like to see youth and young adults around the penin­sula take with them is, “What you can’t see can kill you.

“If you don’t know what it is say away from it, don’t touch it. It used to be if you go to the bar don’t leave your drink, take it with you. Now it’s pretty much don’t touch any of it.”

Foote ex­plained that when a per­son takes fen­tanyl they ex­pe­ri­ence the high, but the drug also has an ef­fect on the res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem, “It puts your res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem into de­pres­sion, it’s very dif­fi­cult to breath.”

He added that the ef­fect it has on the users abil­ity to breath out­lasts the high from the drug. The user may take an­other tablet (or other form), but your res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem hasn’t re­cu­per­ated yet from the de­pres­sion that it’s put un­der.

He added that the next dose they dou­bles the ef­fect it is hav­ing on the res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem, “The rea­son they over­dose is their res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem com­pletely shuts down-be­cause they didn’t give it an op­por­tu­nity to bounce back.”

Foote said it is im­por­tant to get the mes­sage out that fen­tanyl is on the penin­sula.

“We can stick our head in the sand like the os­trich and live life as if it’s not or we can ed­u­cate each other, we can pre­pare for it,” he said.

“The con­ver­sa­tion I had with my teenage daugh­ter is it could be on the (per­son’s) hand that you’re shak­ing, it could be in the pocket that you’re stand­ing next to, it’s very, very sim­ple for two grains of salt to be passed from one hu­man be­ing to the next — ex­tremely easy to do.”

Foote said that it is im­por­tant that peo­ple take the time to talk about the drug and steps that can be taken to stay safe.

“Education is pri­mary. If you have chil­dren you’ve got to talk to them. If you can’t talk to them find some­one that can talk to them,” said Foote. “They’re never too far gone to have that con­ver­sa­tion. I f your child is us­ing drugs and you know it, have the con­ver­sa­tion with them. This is not a time you can be shy — you got to have that dif­fi­cult con­ver­sa­tion.”

COLIN FAR­RELL/TC ME­DIA

The Merge hosted a fen­tanyl in­for­ma­tion ses­sion on Feb. 9. RCMP Staff Sgt. Dale Foote was among the guest speak­ers for the night.

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