Prince Albert police implement sweeping drug amnesty after Saskatoon overdoses
Prince Albert police are mirroring an unprecedented move by Saskatoon police by asking drug users to turn in their product, though police in the northern Saskatchewan city are taking it one step further.
After two people died and four others were taken to hospital in Saskatoon, Prince Albert police are urging drug users to turn over their drugs without facing any penalties.
“It applies now,” Insp. Jason Stonechild said Tuesday morning, though further details are expected later this week.
But unlike Saskatoon where officers urged people only to turn over cocaine suspected to be laced with fentanyl without fear of prosecution, the Prince Albert drug amnesty applies to any drug, Stonechild said.
Rather than bringing the substances into police headquarters as is being suggested by Saskatoon police, officers in Prince Albert would prefer people contact them to remove the drugs from a home or vehicle.
“I don’t want to encourage people to bring drugs out into the public,” Stonechild said.
People wouldn’t have to give their names and police won’t pursue any charges.
Under the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act created in 2017, police and the Crown have the authority to use discretion and offer amnesty, Stonechild said.
Exceptions in Prince Albert will be rare, but possible.
“Whether drug trafficker or not, if you’re doing the right thing, you’re walking with angels,” Stonechild said.
“However, if there’s other significant crimes that are concerned that we discover when we attend, then we’ll cross the bridge when we get to it.”
There is reason to believe the tainted cocaine products could be in Prince Albert based on its proximity to Saskatoon, according to Prince Albert police.
Fentanyl trafficking typically originates on the west coast and moves eastward, Stonechild said.
“Saskatoon was kind of the first scary reminder … and a possible indication that it’s now arrived,” Stonechild said.
Three people arrested in connection with the suspected cocaine overdoses are scheduled to appear in Saskatoon provincial court on Wednesday.
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