The Saskatchewan Health Authority is issuing a warning to people as summer festivals like Craven rage on. Concertgoers are reminded to be aware of their limits and make safe choices when it comes to alcohol and drugs.
Approximately 20,000 people are expected at the country festival and already, RCMP have responded to 23 calls since 7 a.m. Thursday morning.
“Out of the 23 calls, we had four reported assaults, we had one person arrested for impaired driving here on the grounds and one person arrested for impaired driving off the grounds by the combined traffic sections,” said Cpl. Rob King with the RCMP.
The Combined Traffic Services (CTSS) conducted 270 vehicle stops resulting in 66 charges, while 85 warning tickets were issued along with two licence suspensions for alcohol.
Eight people were incarcerated and held on a variety of offences as both private security and RCMP members patrol the site.
“We would just hope that people would just simply behave and enjoy themselves,” King added.
“It’s persons that are a danger to themselves, a danger to others or being a definite obstruction to everyone else here or their own safety — are usually the ones held and incarcerated.”
As with any summer festival, King reminded people that moderation is key. The Saskatchewan Health Authority is also renewing warnings to people that one lapse in judgment could have deadly consequences.
“Some of the opioids that have been found out there across the country and other provinces, as well as Saskatchewan in crowded events and festivals, are fentanyl, codeine, methadone, heroin,” said Dr. Simon Kapaj, deputy Medical Health Officer for the Saskatchewan Health Authority in Saskatoon.
Toxic drugs can affect the nervous system and could lead to a fatal outcome. Fentanyl for instance is 100 times more toxic than morphine and a dose the size of a grain of salt can kill.
Since 2014, there have been 59 deaths in Saskatchewan linked to the lethal drug.
“We are concerned because these are major events where thousands of people will enjoy their summer and the social activities — sometimes the fentanyl can be mixed with other drugs,” Kapaj added.
In the event of an overdose, anyone present is asked to call 911. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act will protect those individuals from charges for possessing a controlled substance and is aimed at reducing fear so people will stick around to save a life.