In 2018, there were 1,487 illicit drug overdose deaths in B.C. Almost the same number as the year before. Fentanyl is implicated in 86 per cent, or approximately 1,279 of those deaths.
Fentanyl, according to a Feb. 20 article in the Peace Arch News, is now contaminating the organ donor program. About one in four organs are contaminated with fentanyl. Fentanyl is an overwhelming epidemic and shows no promise of changing course unless we do something about it. That is a certainty.
Last week we heard of a judge giving a charged and self-confessed fentanyl trafficker, who was caught with 27,500 fentanyl pills, a full release because the sniffing dog did not signal his handler properly.
The argument is that police have to have just cause for stopping someone to search his car, which apparently they did not have. In so doing, they violated his charter rights. A similar case happened in Surrey about a month ago when a judge said that the police officers did not have just reason to stop and search a person’s car even though he showed suspicious behaviour. On stopping him, the police found a host of illicit drugs and cash. Again, the charge was thrown out.
There were 70 fatalities in 2017 in B.C. due to impairment — so says the 2018 Road Safety Report of BC. In comparison, 1,279 deaths were due to fentanyl.
This is what confuses me. The police have every right to stop any vehicle to check for impaired driving. They don’t even need to have a suspicion. But when it comes to checking for drugs, they simply cannot do that. And that killed 18 times more people in 2018 than impaired driving.
We need to do better by the police. We need to be prepared to forgo some of our civil liberties to make this world safer for all of us. I pray our lawmakers can do the math and make that happen.
Simon Bergen-Henengouwen, White Rock