Fentanyl use connected to 4 weekend overdoses, Saskatoon police say
Saskatoon police say that in addition to five reported overdoses from the weekend, there have been four others since Sept. 8.
This surge of overdoses prompted police to warn the public.
"It’s something that’s out of the ordinary for us, that’s what prompted the initial news release was the five incidents in the 30-hour period," Supt. David Haye said.
"But when we expanded and had a larger look we realized a trend over a longer period of time."
Police said a woman died over the weekend string of overdoses, and her case has been taken over by Major Crimes and the coroner’s office. Police don’t know what drug she used and the cause of death.
In four of the reported overdoses over the weekend, the drug that was knowingly consumed was identified as fentanyl, and heroin was identified in a fifth, according to police.
Jason Mercredi, executive director of AIDS Saskatoon, said he shared his own message over social media alerting people that his organization could deliver Naloxone kits upon request.
Naloxone kits have been available for years through the Saskatchewan Health Authority and pharmacies across the province. Naloxone is a medication used to temporarily reverse an opioid overdose.
By Sunday morning, Mercredi delivered five kits to people in Saskatoon.
"The drug trade is always changing – right now it’s crystal meth and opioids but counterfeit opioids are coming in constantly and these overdoses over the weekend are the new norm so we need to prepare for the new norm," he said.
The group’s safe consumption site, coming in the new year, could help reduce the number of overdoses, he said.
"Having a safe place for people to use drugs is a way we can engage them in care. There’s never been an overdose death at a safe consumption site in Canada and we’re not going to be the first site that has that either," he said.
Police said any drug that is not prescribed by a doctor and dispensed by a pharmacist poses a serious risk of injury or death.
Police also note that the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides some legal protection for individuals who experience or witness an overdose.
Haye said police hope to interview more people who suffered an overdose to see if the drugs originated from the same source.
Anyone with information about this rash of overdoses is asked to contact Saskatoon Police Service or Crimestoppers.