‘This isn’t just a big city issue’: Taber police take action before fentanyl use spikes in community

Click to play video: 'Not just a big city problem; Taber Police warn residents to be aware of Fentanyl' Not just a big city problem; Taber Police warn residents to be aware of Fentanyl
WATCH ABOVE: Some smaller communities are encouraging their residents to be aware of Fentanyl, and not just look at the increase as a big city problem. Global’s Quinn Campbell reports – Nov 22, 2016

It doesn’t seem to matter the size of the community, the problems are often the same; trying to find a way to combat the rapidly growing use of potentially deadly drugs.

“Unfortunately, fentanyl is in our community,” Taber Police Chief Graham Abela said Tuesday. “Public safety is our game, that’s what we do, and I want to make sure that the public is aware that this isn’t just a big city issue, this does happen in rural Alberta – rural Canada for that matter – and people need to be vigilant.”

Abela added police haven’t seen an increase in fentanyl-related police calls, but aren’t waiting to see a spike before taking action.

“When we do see a new substance that comes into our community – especially one that people might not be aware of and one that unfortunately is lethal – I think the community leaders have to stand up and say, ‘It’s here, let’s have a community response to this and let’s see if we can curb its use and prevent death.'”

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According to Alberta Health Services, as of September of this year, there have been 193 fentanyl-related deaths in Alberta; seven in the South Zone.

“We have not seen any – as far as I know – fentanyl-related deaths in our community yet,” Abela added. “We have had opiate deaths in the past, I can tell you that. We do have a segment of our population that is using opiates and what I’m worried about is that now that we know the fentanyl is here, unfortunately we may be next.”

Dr. Karin Goodison, the Medical Officer of Health in the South Zone, said when it comes to fentanyl use, no one is immune to the risks.

“It’s everywhere, it’s all classes of people and it can be prescription medication even that’s being used,” she said. “It can be illicit drugs made to look like prescription medication and then it can be street drugs that are laced with fentanyl.”


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