Abbotsford police chief wants harsh charges for dealers selling deadly drugs

APD chief Bob Rich exploring ways to charge drug traffickers whose customers die with serious criminal offences.

Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich

Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich wants to find a way to bring the full weight of the law down on opioid dealers whose customers overdose and die.

Rich told Abbotsford council Monday that he had penned a letter to drug dealers warning them that they could be charged with extremely serious crimes if their customers suffer fatal overdoses.

But Rich said that Crown counsel thought the letter, as written, was not a good idea. Nevertheless, Rich said he’s still looking at ways to deter drug dealers with the threat of charges beyond simply trafficking and was considering modifying the letter for distribution.

Rich noted that fentanyl is easy to purchase in bulk over the internet and extremely profitable when sold in smaller quantities. It’s also frequently mixed with other narcotics. The only drug it hasn’t been detected with, he said, is marijuana.

The Abbotsford Police Department also plans to issue 24 kits of naloxone spray to officers this week. Naloxone reverses the symptoms of opioid overdose, and the spray application has recently been approved for use in Canada. The naloxone kit can be used if officers encounter someone who is overdosing, or in case of inadvertent consumption by officers handling drugs in the field. All officers will eventually get the kits.

Rich noted that the province is also issuing new guidelines that will see police officers not attend the scene of overdoses except in cases where paramedics fear for their lives. The idea is that the order will increase the willingness of drug users to call 911.

While council heard from a range of voices on harm-reduction issues and the current opioid overdose crisis, the creation of a safe injection site in the region was only briefly discussed.

Fraser Health medical health officer Andrew Larder said the province expected to see at least one safe injection site created in each health region.

Rich also briefly touched on the subject, noting: “Good or bad, the one thing that has never happened in a safe injection site in Vancouver is nobody has ever died.”

The News has filed freedom of information requests seeking records of communication between Fraser Health and the City of Abbotsford regarding the creation of the site, but requests to both public bodies yielded no documents.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Man killed in shooting at Abbotsford bank

Police believe incident on Thursday night to be targeted

Online fundraiser to cover funeral costs of motorcyclist killed in collision

Larry Nizio, 37, died after crash with pickup truck Oct. 12 in Abbotsford

ABBY ELECTION HUB: Everything you need to know in one spot

Interviews, Q&As, info on how to vote, stories on the issues and candidate bios all in one place.

Brothers who shot to fame with Jackson 5 song perform in Abbotsford

Melisizwe Brothers have performed on Ellen and America’s Got Talent

Alzheimer Society presents Family Caregiver Series

Program in Abbotsford runs for three Saturdays, starting Oct. 20

B.C. NDP retreats again on empty-home tax for urban areas

Rate reduced for all Canadians, dissident mayors to get annual meeting

Jets score 3 late goals to beat Canucks 4-1

Winnipeg ends three-game Vancouver win streak

Canada not sending anyone to Saudi business summit

Sources insist Ottawa never intended to dispatch a delegation this time around

Two B.C. cannabis dispensaries raided on legalization day

Port Alberni dispensaries ticketed for “unlawful sale” of cannabis

Earthquake early-warning sensors installed off coast of B.C.

The first-of-its kind warning sensors are developed by Ocean Networks Canada

VPD ordered to co-operate with B.C. police watchdog probe

According to the IIO, a court is ordering Vancouver police to co-operate with an investigation into a fatal shooting

B.C. woman looks to reduce stigma surrounding weed-smoking moms

Shannon Chiarenza, a Vancouver mom of two, started weedmama.ca to act as a guide for newcomers to legal cannabis, specifically mothers

B.C. teen gives away tickets to Ellen Degeneres show, plans O Canada welcome

The Grade 9 student wanted to give away tickets in the spirit of inclusivity

Most Read