Proactive police prepared to fight fentanyl

By Taylor MacPherson
April 19, 2017 - 2:00pm

Prince Albert Police said a fentanyl bust in the city over the long weekend is not as concerning as it might have been if the department had not already taken proactive measures to prepare for the drug’s arrival in P.A.

Patrol officers responded to a call from a residence in the 600 block of 21st St. E. in the early hours Monday morning. When they arrived officers reported the 26-year-old male resident of the home appeared to be under the influence of drugs and was behaving “very erratically.” Officers spotted a large knife and a hammer in plain view, and performed a weapons search for officer safety. The search turned up a small baggie of methamphetamine along with another baggie containing 32 fentanyl pills.

The suspect was arrested and charged with possession of fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking along with other drug charges. Police reported the pills had an approximate street value of $800.

Deputy Police Chief Jeff Rowden told paNOW Monday’s seizure represents a significant quantity, but is not the first or biggest fentanyl seizure the city has seen.

“In May of 2016 we had seized 14 grams of fentanyl in powder form,” Rowden said. “We have seen it; we’ve just been fortunate that it hasn’t been in the quantities that has been seen in other cities.”

Rowden said Prince Albert Police have been busy taking steps to prepare for the arrival of the deadly drug, which they predicted would arrive in the city eventually.

“Rather than waiting for something to happen, we’re trying to be a little bit more proactive,” Rowden said. “We were fully prepared that it would make its way to Prince Albert.”

A growing number of local officers have been equipped with and trained to administer emergency naloxone kits, which act as a fast-acting antidote to fentanyl overdose. Because fentanyl can take many forms and can be deadly even in minute quantities, Rowden said the kits are important to ensure the safety of officers who sometimes need to handle unknown drugs before they can be identified in a lab.

“The naloxone training is important not only for the public but also for our own officers that have to handle suspected fentanyl,” he said. “The composition could be different from pill to pill, and that’s why it’s so dangerous.”

No Prince Albert Police officer has needed to use their naloxone kit so far, Rowden said, but officers are trained and ready should the need arise.


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