June 15th, 2024

Police in B.C. find drugs from provincial safer-supply program during bust

By The Canadian Press on April 8, 2024.

Police in Prince George, B.C., say they have arrested two people over allegations they were trafficking safe-supply drugs that are prescribed as an alternative to the toxic drug supply in the province. Items seized by the Prince George RCMP, from what it calls an alleged case of safe-supply drugs being trafficked, are seen in an undated police handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-RCMP, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Police in Prince George, B.C., say they have arrested two people over allegations they were trafficking safer-supply drugs that are prescribed as an alternative to the toxic drug supply in the province.

RCMP say they acted on tips from the public and information from other investigations to gather enough evidence to detain the two suspects who were “seen allegedly exchanging illicit drugs for safer-supply drugs.”

Insp. Darin Rappel says in a statement that a subsequent search of one of the suspect’s homes revealed more safer-supply prescription drugs, along with suspected methamphetamine and fentanyl.

In a separate seizure, police in West Kelowna, B.C., say they have found prescription morphine “believed to have been diverted for resale” alongside other drugs in a bust on March 28, but they say the morphine was not part of safer-supply.

B.C. Premier David Eby says he is “grateful” for the efforts of police to fight the diversion of safer-supply and prescription drugs, and the latest seizure in Prince George “illustrates some of the scope of the challenge” faced by the province.

The possible diversion of drugs from the safer-supply program – where those addicted to street opioids are prescribed alternative medications – emerged last month when Prince George police said the medication was being discovered in trafficking investigations.

“My hope is that we can continue to work with the federal government around interdiction at the border, especially precursor chemicals “¦ to prevent as much as possible the upstream delivery of drugs within British Columbia but also from British Columbia to other places,” Eby says.

The RCMP say both suspects arrested in Prince George have been released without charge pending the results of their investigation, and both are known to police for drug-related offences.

The police discoveries of safer-supply drugs in criminal investigations has triggered criticism of B.C.’s program from some provincial and federal leaders.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said she was worried B.C.’s safer-supply drugs would end up in her province, while federal Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre pledged to scrap safe supply if he becomes prime minister.

B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said after the original police statement last month that he had been told by the RCMP that there was no evidence of widespread diversion of the safer-supply drugs.

Prince George Mounties say they have informed B.C. health authorities on the findings related to the latest discovery of safer-supply drugs possibly being trafficked.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 8, 2024.

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