Long-term drug treatment expensive but needed, says Abbotsford police chief

Bob Rich speaks at second annual Crime is Toast breakfast fundraiser

Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich holds up nasal-spray naloxone– used as an antidote to a drug overdose – during the second annual Crime is Toast breakfast on Wednesday at the Quality Hotel and Conference Centre.

The best solution for addressing the drug epidemic is long-term treatment for addicts, Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich told a crowd attending a fundraising breakfast on Wednesday.

“We think we can get away with doing harm reduction …  (but) we have to to invest in long-term residential, highly supported care because many, many opioid addicts can be cured of their addiction,” he said during the second annual Crime is Toast event at the Quality Hotel and Conference Centre.

Rich acknowledged that such programs will be expensive, but believes government needs to make the investment.

He made the comments in relation to the rise in fentanyl-related fatal overdoses across the province this year.

A video shown at the breakfast indicated that there have been four murders and six traffic fatalities in Abbotsford so far this year compared to 26 fentanyl-related deaths.

Rich said people dying from the highly potent drug – which, unbeknownst to the user, is often mixed into other substances – come from all walks of life.

“They come from our schools. They come from people who are struggling with pain because of a car accident. They come from people who are foolishly experimenting with drugs for some kind of occasional hit on the weekend … and they come from people who are unable to control their addictions.”

Rich said the Abbotsford Police Department’s strategies to address the growing problem include a program in which officers give talks to local middle and high schools and a “fear-based” marketing campaign similar to the “Smoking Kills” messages from years past.

As well, the APD is part of a working group that is has been newly formed with other local agencies – including the school district, the City of Abbotsford, fire and ambulance personnel, and Community Services – to address the issue.

The objectives of the group are to spread awareness, disrupt fentanyl distribution and overdoses, and mitigate the dangers of fentanyl in Abbotsford.

“Abbotsford is really getting hammered. We have a lot of people who aren’t doing well with drugs in their life,” he said.

The Crime is Toast breakfast, attended by about 200 people, was hosted by the Abbotsford Police Foundation to raise funds for APD programs not covered by its operating budget.

Funds from this year’s event will go toward a campaign in which youth will create posters addressing the dangers of fentanyl and to the purchase of an all-terrain vehicle to enable officers to access rugged areas more easily.

A total raised at the breakfast was not available by press deadline.

 

Just Posted

One man in custody after heavily armed Abbotsford police units surround house while serving warrant

Police barricades blocked off roadway on Upper Maclure Road and Firhill Drive

Abbotsford school support staff vote 95 per cent in favour of strike

Teamsters Local 31 and school district negotiators to meet with mediator on Oct. 31

Elizabeth’s Wildlife Centre in Abbotsford could use a boost

Non-profit centre launches online campaign to raise money for upgrades

ELECTION HUB: Candidate profiles, voter information and news for Abbotsford’s ridings

We’ve collected our election coverage in one spot to help you decide who to vote for

City errs in posting boil-water advisory for Abbotsford and Mission

‘Draft weblink’ mistakenly goes live on city website Thursday night

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

$50,000 reward for ‘extremely violent’ South Surrey murder suspect renewed

Offer for information on Brandon Teixeira to remain in effect through April, 2020

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Council asks to limit cruise ship visits to Victoria harbour

Mayor says motion is not meant to curtail current visits or limit local cruise industry expansion

Chilliwack man pleads guilty in crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged under Motor Vehicle Act for accident that killed Kelowna school teacher

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Most Read