On Wednesday, the RCMP in Saskatchewan issued a cautionary message regarding "unsafe illegal drugs" in the southern and southeastern regions of the province, following three fatalities from drug overdoses in the last week.
Suspected Methamphetamine or Fentanyl Involved in Fatal Overdoses
As per a recent news release, the substances thought to have been taken before the three fatal overdoses in Saskatchewan were likely methamphetamine (meth) or fentanyl, and they were being sold to the public in powdered form.
On February 9, 2023, Assiniboia RCMP responded to a report of an unresponsive man found in a residence in Assiniboia. EMS declared the 21-year-old man deceased at the scene. Police officers found crystals and an off-white powder at the scene suspected to be methamphetamine (meth) or fentanyl.
On February 13, 2023, Moosomin RCMP responded to a report of an unresponsive man found in a hotel room in Moosomin. EMS and police officers attempted CPR but the 22-year-old man was declared deceased at the scene. Police officers found a light-coloured powder at the scene suspected to contain methamphetamine (meth) or fentanyl.
On February 14, 2023, Canora/Sturgis RCMP responded to a report of an unresponsive woman found outside a residence in Preeceville. The 50-year-old female was taken to the Preeceville Hospital by EMS where she was pronounced deceased. Police officers found a white powder at the scene suspected to contain methamphetamine (meth) or fentanyl.
The Saskatchewan Coroners Service will perform autopsies and obtain toxicology reports to determine the identity and role of the illicit drugs in the suspected overdose cases.
Saskatchewan RCMP Advises Public to Take Special Precautions
Saskatchewan RCMP is urging the public who consumes illicit drugs to take special precautions when using:
- Never use alone,
- Let someone you trust know of your plans to use,
- Always carry a Naloxone kit. They are available free of charge at many locations in the province,
- Call 911 if you suspect an overdose is occurring.
The federal Good Samaritan Act passed in 2017 shields drug users from simple possession charges when calling for emergency medical assistance.
The Mounties are urging that anyone with information about these incidents or the substances involved to call Saskatchewan RCMP at 306-310-RCMP. Information can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submitting a tip online at www.saskcrimestoppers.com.
The Fight Against Drug Trafficking Continues
In 2022, Saskatchewan experienced a new high in overdose deaths. A board of police commissioners report revealed that Regina witnesses over 100 overdoses each month. During a drug trafficking investigation in Regina and its surrounding areas, law enforcement found over 820 grams of fentanyl, among other items.
As overdose incidents continue to rise across Canada, Saskatchewan is closely monitoring the pilot program in British Columbia to determine whether drug decriminalization could be a viable solution.
To make it more convenient and secure for the public, the RPS launched a program in June 2022 called the Virtual Police Reporting System. It enables individuals to communicate with a police officer through the internet from the comfort and privacy of their home or office at any time.
On December 1, 2022, the province announced that the Saskatchewan Drug Task Force would provide $650,000 to support initiatives for the Overdose Outreach Teams pilot project, which will operate until May 15 in Regina and Saskatoon. The Overdose Outreach Teams are an essential resource for helping people obtain the necessary care and support to begin their journey to recovery and healing.