Education is key says RCMP officer
The Merge hosts fentanyl information session
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.”
“What you can’t see can kill you.” RCMP Staff Sgt. Dale Foote
The Merge hosted a fentanyl information session on Feb. 9. RCMP Staff Sgt. Dale Foote was among the guest speakers for the night.