The Weyburn Police Service have seen an evolution in drug use in the city in the last six months, as meth is now the biggest drug problem officers are dealing with, said acting police chief Rod Stafford.
“We’re seeing more and more meth in the arrests and drug seizures,” he said, noting methamphetamines are causing the most problems, while cocaine is also the drug of choice for many drug users in the city.
Meth has been a big problem in the larger urban centres like Regina and Saskatoon in the last couple of years, and is behind many of the more violent crimes in those cities, added chief Stafford.
One of the tools used by police members is naloxone, which can counteract the effects of opioids like Fentanyl, morphine and heroin. In the March 11 edition of the Weyburn Review, an interview was featured with local resident, Denise Kennedy, who has had a naloxone kit in her possession ever since her daughter nearly died of an overdose.
Chief Stafford noted while every officer has a naloxone inhaler with them, they haven’t had to use them yet, but have been present when Weyburn EMS or family members have used it when an overdose occurs.
“I believe it is saving lives, and it’s very useful, but there is a risk,” he said, pointing out that they have seen some people needing multiple doses of naloxone to revive them. His fear is that drug users may rely on the presence of naloxone to keep using, knowing someone will be able to revive them if they overdose at some point.
“We’ve been at a number of calls in the last number of months where family members had to use naloxone to bring their loved one back. They’ve also attended calls where EMS had to use naloxone, sometimes multiple doses,” he said, noting police are starting to see occasions when as many as five or six doses of naloxone are needed.
“Having it is a good thing, but we’re getting the sense that some users are taking their drugs as long as naloxone is around, so in some ways it’s had a negative effect,” he said.
One of the effects of meth in the community has been a spike in property crimes, especially of unlocked vehicles being rummaged through for quick thefts. This has now become more of a problem, as some thieves are willing to take the extra step to break a window of a locked vehicle if they can see valuables inside that they can grab.
Just in the last week, the police had a report of a locked vehicle in a garage broken into with items stolen out of it, and police believe that meth drug use is behind it.
From the people police are dealing with on drug charges, cocaine users are usually able to manage their lives to an extent, but those on meth are another story, as it “consumes your existence” and makes a user more desperate to steal things to get a fix.