Thank you for taking time to read this important notice. Being a parent is the most important job any of us will ever have.
As some of you may be aware through media, friends or family, more than 433 people in the Province of British Columbia have died between January and July 2016 as a result of an overdose. According to the BC Coroner fentanyl was detected in approximately 62 per cent of those cases. The families of these people have been left devastated and their lives will never be the same.
After examining several recent fentanyl-related calls for service, the Williams Lake RCMP is issuing a warning to parents about the dangers of fentanyl and other drug use. Fentanyl, new fentanyl equivalents, and W compounds are appearing in the illegal market. Fentanyl is up to 100 times more toxic than morphine and a small amount can cause serious harm or death. W-18 is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, making it over 10,000 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl is often found as a primary ingredient in fake Oxycodone tablets, fake Percocet tablets and heroin. Police have also found other drugs contaminated with fentanyl, such as powder cocaine, crack cocaine, MDMA, and methamphetamine. Individuals who package and process drugs can unintentionally contaminate their other products with fentanyl, which can lead to an inadvertent overdose. You can’t see, smell, or taste it, and a drug user would have no idea if and how much fentanyl may be in the drug they are about to consume.
Being a parent in today’s world is more difficult and complex than ever before. Our children are exposed to external pressures at unprecedented levels and the “digital age” has had more influence on young peoples’ lives than many of us can fully understand.
We have often heard parents say, “Not my son…not my daughter” and fortunately in many cases that is true. We also have heard many youth say “My parents have no idea that I am using drugs.” This includes teens from all social-economic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. Although there are many behaviours/signs to watch for it is important never to automatically assume your child hasn’t already or isn’t thinking about experimenting with drugs – it’s not always as obvious as we think. Overdoses do not discriminate between the first time and the fiftieth time one takes drugs.
We believe that arming you with information is an effective way to reduce the risk that your child will ever experiment with/abuse drugs. We know our kids are curious about drugs and as teens they will take more risks during this phase of their life than at any other. We need them to understand that trying something even just once can lead down a path of despair and/or death. We believe if you take the time to learn about drugs and drug prevention, it will lead to a meaningful discussion with your son/daughter that will make a positive difference. To assist you, I have also included some tips for talking to your child and additional resources.
Starting the conversation about drugs:
• Look for opportunities to talk about drug use with your teenager, like when you discuss school or current events.
• Plan the main points you want to discuss, rather than speaking on impulse. Avoid saying everything you think all at once. Instead, target your main points about drugs.
• Listen to them and respect their opinion. If they see you as a good listener, they may be more inclined to trust your input. Give them room to participate and ask questions.
• Focus on facts rather than emotions. If your teenager is using drugs, you may feel anger, sadness, fear or confusion. Those are natural reactions. But talking about the issue is more productive than talking about your feelings.
• Avoid being judgmental.
• Respect their independence. Tell them you are trying to help them make good decisions, by giving them information they may not know.
• Be clear about why you are worried. Whatever your teenager may think, communicate that your main concern is for their well-being.
• You are your teenager’s most important role model and their best defense against drug use. Start early and answer the questions about drugs before they are asked.
Signs that may indicate your teen is using drugs:
• Increased secrecy about possessions, friends and activities,
• Use of incense, room deodorant, or perfume to hide smoke or chemical odours,
• New interest in clothes that reference drug use,
• Increased need for money, or
• Missing prescription drugs – especially narcotics and sedatives.
The Williams Lake RCMP is committed to doing everything it can to help keep kids safe. We want to ensure that potentially lifesaving information is made available and accessible in a timely manner.
If you are dealing with a possible overdose situation, this is a medical issue and please ensure you call 9-1-1 immediately. If you are experiencing a specific issue related to drug trafficking or drug use please contact our office. The non-emergency number for the Williams Lake RCMP is 250-392-6211.
Jeff Pelley, Inspector
Williams Lake Detachment