Death can be found in something as small as a single grain of sand.
This is the message RCMP Staff Sgt. Scott West would like everyone to hear.
As the death toll from Fentanyl rises across the province, West says that, so far, the drug has not been found in Salmon Arm.
But he believes it is only a matter of time and cautions that W-18, a new “designer drug,” is even deadlier.
“A grain of sand is the amount of Fentanyl that can overdose a person, so consider the ramifications of a substance that is 50 times more toxic than that,” he says. “I feel parents need to sit down with their children and begin to explain the negative impacts that drugs can have.”
West adds that he and Cpl. Luiz Sardinha, the local detachment’s drug expert, are concerned about the legalization of marijuana.
“I feel that marijuana is the gateway to trying different drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin, which are highly addictive.”
Also of concern, West says, is that drug traffickers often lace marijuana cigarettes with either cocaine or heroin so the potential buyer can get a better high and become addicted.
“In B.C., it is well-documented that we have seen a large number of overdose deaths the past few months, as the result of taking Fentanyl, which is 20 times more potent then morphine,” he says.
“W-18, a powerful new opiate hitting the streets, is considered to be up to 100 times more potent than Fentanyl and has not yet been rated illegal by Health Canada. This drug will soon be on our streets as well, it is just a matter of time.”
A lot of police work is devoted to drugs and associated crimes in Salmon Arm, most commonly involving powder and crack cocaine, meth, heroin, cannabis and ecstasy.
“A number of the investigations we investigate arise out of substance abuse issues that manifest themselves in break and enters to homes and businesses, theft of vehicles, and theft from vehicles,” West says. “We respond to these matters, knowing that most of the persons involved in these kind of crimes are involved in property crime to sell the items to get money for drugs.”
West says drugs are also the root of many cases involving domestic abuse and disturbances, and other assaults.
Drug-related incidents increase in summer as the population swells in the Blind Bay and Eagle Bay areas.
“With vacation, comes vices and risk-taking as a result of that freedom from the day-to-day grind, which also includes, to a degree, substance abuse.”
West says if the community – police, health-care workers and other groups can get one person, be they addicts or not, to really question the possible outcome of taking “that one harmless, little party pill,” they might very well have saved a life.