Regina Police Service drug overdose concerns continue

The Regina Police Service is asking the public to be aware of the dangers of fentanyl and other drugs.

In November, EMS was transferred to 231 calls for drug overdoses, with Regina Police being dispatched for 28 of those calls, with 18 of them being fatal. That is an increase from the 19 apparent overdoes in October of this year,

So far, in 2021, EMS has been transferred to 1,641 for drug overdoses. Police officers have accompanied EMS on 299 of those overdose calls, with 137 of them involving people dying from apparent drug overdoses.

Amy Belfort, the manager of strategic services for the Regina Police Service, said that their focus is not on the numbers, but the people.

“Of the 140 people who have died from a suspected overdose this year, behind all of those 140 people are dozens of people suffering due to the loss of their family as well,” she said. “We don’t want to forget that people in our community are suffering and that they need support.”

“Every time someone overdoes on an illicit drug, whether they survive or not, it is a very traumatic experience, not only for them but the people around them,” she continued. “Every one of those people has a whole host of friends and family, colleagues, relatives, who are likely going through that addiction with them, or alongside them.”

Belfort said they had an unprecedented number of overdoses in 2020, with things getting even worse in 2021, with three weeks still left to go.

“We want to make sure that the public understands how dangerous the drugs are that are on the street,” she stated. “If they are in a position where they are using drugs, to use it safely, and not alone so that perhaps they don’t become the next fatality.”

She said that their main concern is around fentanyl.

“It requires such a small amount for the high. The addiction with fentanyl is so strong that it requires such a significant support system to overcome that addiction. It takes such a small amount, it takes three or four grains of salt to be fatal, and it doesn’t take very much,” she said. Drug dealers aren’t concerned with whether this four grains, five grains, or ten, and so people are receiving fatal doses and unable to recover.”

When it comes to drug enforcement, Belfort said at times, it’s one step forward, two steps back.

“The amount of drugs that we are seizing is significant, but the supply is even larger. Obviously, our main goal as a police service is to enforce the law and make sure that these drugs don’t get into the streets and into the hands of people who may or may not actually know what they are actually consuming.”

Regina Police are asking the public to use tip lines like Regina Crime Stoppers (1-800-222-8477) to report a crime, including drug trafficking, for family members and friends of people battling a substance use disorder to not allow them to use alone, and to learn about Naloxone and how to get free take-home Naloxone kits.

Police also want to remind the public about the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, which provides some legal protection for people who seek help while experiencing or witnessing an overdose.

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