It’s going to take a collaborated effort to curb the ongoing opioid epidemic visible in the province including Central Alberta.
Educating the public at the local level and working together with international partners to limit the supply is the way to go. This was the message by Cpl. Brad McIntosh, team leader of the RCMP K Division for Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) who was in Red Deer County on Sept. 6 for a fentanyl awareness presentation.
“There’s no one segment of society that can solve this problem and we need to work together to address this epidemic right now,” he said.
McIntosh along with another presenter, Dr. Martin Davies, an associate professor in the department of pharmacology at the University of Alberta, spent the evening educating roughly 85 local residents at Poplar Ridge Community Centre.
McIntosh said law enforcement agencies are working together with other agencies such as the Canadian Border Services to address importation of the drug from source countries — mainly China.
Red Deer County coun. Jean Bota co-organized the event with coun. Christine Moore mainly to educate county ratepayers.
“It’s a real concern in Alberta period,” said Bota. “I don’t think we have seen the end of this one,” she said.
On average, Turning Point in Red Deer that caters to Central Alberta, hands out 200 to 400 naloxone kits and conduct 60 to 90 reversals of drug overdose per month.
Although Bota doesn’t know of any incidents personally, she has heard of cases within her friends and family circle in Red Deer County about fentanyl overdose.
She said both the crime issue and drug issue go hand-in-hand.
McIntosh said, although, he doesn’t have data that directly correlates the two concerns but sometimes when people can’t afford their addiction habits they resolve to criminal activities.
Bota said the presentation helped her understand key aspects such as where does fentanyl belong in the opioid drug family and the affect it has on the user’s brain.