Published: December 21, 2016
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
Local law enforcement confirm powerful opioids responsible for elevated overdose deaths are now being bought, sold and used by residents.
Speaking to municipal leaders at the Regular Council Meeting on Dec. 19, Staff Sargent Shawn Crabbe told those gathered sources have confirmed the presence of the opioids within the Red Lake district.
“While we are down 35 per cent here to date in the number of drug occurrences I can tell you we have numerous intelligence reports and information both from confidential informants and Crime Stoppers about fentanyl in our schools, on our streets, in the workplaces, throughout the community as well as methamphetamine,” said Crabbe during an update on the third quarter enforcement results. “In the last six months this is the first indication we have had, even covertly.”
The Staff Sargent says there are currently active investigations targeting both substances which are expecting to yield results. Additionally officers are targeting youth in a multi-pronged response.
“We are also taking an education approach with those [drugs] especially in schools – to know what the drugs are, what physical response your body takes when you take them – because it is real concern especially for the young people,” he added.
During the presentation Mayor Phil Vinet questioned the need for emergency responders to carry an antidote to combat the effects of the potentially lethal drugs.
Crabbe responded noting Northwest EMS personnel are carrying the medicine and OPP officers will be receiving training at a future time on its administration.
Impaired driving rates continue to rise
Crabbe also reported on criminal code and provincial statute charges laid citing impaired driving as an ongoing issue in the district. Festive R.I.D.E statistics won’t show up until the fourth quarter report, however, the initiative has quickly surpassed 2015 results.
“We have already conducted more R.I.D.E checks year to date this year than we did last year in total and we have already arrested more impaired drivers and laid more charges and license suspensions that we did last year in that same time period. Impaired driving continues to be a big issue here,” he told leaders.
The report also pointed at Norseman Days as a significant draw on enforcement resources. During the July festival weekend 92.5 dedicated officer hours were spent exclusively to working within the festival. During that time there were nine police occurrences “directly on event grounds” including drug possession, a marine impaired during the airshow, liquor violations and other criminal violations.