The RCMP have a new four-legged tool to help in the fight against fentanyl.
The force is in the process of training RCMP drug-sniffing-dogs from across Canada to help detect the deadly drug.
“Our specialists have transformed pure fentanyl into a diluted liquid form, enabling our dogs to train with the real smell of fentanyl with no risk of inhaling it.
It is particularly efficient, making the dogs in the field extremely productive,” said Staff Sgt. Eric Stebenne, senior trainer at the RCMP Police Dog Service Training Centre (PDSTC) in Innisfail, Alta, where the training is taking place.
“I don’t think this is done anywhere else in the world, in terms of having dogs detect fentanyl”.
Sam Hilliard worked to train police dog Haddie, who he said picked up the new skill quickly.
“Haddie has shown me that she knows the odours that she’s trained on,” Hilliard said. “It’s amazing how fast they pick it up”.
READ MORE: Special coverage of the fentanyl epidemic
Three dogs have already been trained and that training has already paid off, according to Insp. Akrum Ghadban, officer in charge of the RCMP dog training centre. One of the dogs recently helped intercept 12,000 fentanyl tablets in British Columbia.
“The more fentanyl we get off the street the more lives we save,” Ghadban said.
Eventually all 139 RCMP narcotics profile dog teams from across the country will receive the training, expected to be completed by mid-July 2017.
Fentanyl is an opioid about 100 times more toxic than morphine which can cause serious harm, including death. It has been used in tablets made to look like prescription drugs.
WATCH BELOW: Two RCMP officers share stories of their encounters with fentanyl users and how the drug poses a deadly threat to users, the public and first responders.