Surrey RCMP warn parents of drug risks as school lets out for summer

‘You should not assume your child isn’t experimenting with drugs or thinking about trying drugs.’

(Photo: Fraser Health)

SURREY – Police are warning parents about the risks of drugs as school lets out for summer.

In a letter to parents, the school district and Surrey RCMP update parents on the “current risks with respect to illicit drugs so you can all have a safe summer.”

“It is imperative that both parents/caregivers and youth are aware of the dangers of experimenting with drugs,” the letter states.

It goes on to say that in the last couple years, the drug landscape has changed “dramatically,” largely due to the introduction of fentanyl, a powerful painkiller that’s said to be up to 100 times more toxic than morphine.

“It is being imported and sold illegally with tragic consequences; just a tiny amount can cause serious harm or death,” notes the letter. “Around the Lower Mainland, fentanyl and drugs similar to fentanyl have been found mixed into other drugs including heroin, powder cocaine, crack cocaine and methamphetamine. It is also found as a primary ingredient in fake oxycodone and Percocet tablets. These new drug combinations have caused many deaths.”

Last year, 113 people died of overdose in Surrey. And, in the first four months of 2017, Surrey already had 51 overdose deaths.

The letter warns that ecstacy or “molly,” aka MDMA, is a common drug circulated at summer festivals, concerts and house parties that many students will attend.

“It can easily be mixed with fentanyl, which would put users at a higher risk of overdose and death,” the letter states. “MDMA is a hallucinogen with stimulant properties. It is usually sold as a loose white powder and pressed into tablets with different logos or packaged in gelatin tablets. MDMA users usually experience euphoria, enhanced self-esteem and increased sociability, which is why it is very popular in party settings.”

The letter acknowledges that despite parents’ best efforts, children can easily find drugs.

“They are young and influenced by people and factors outside of our control. You should not assume your child isn’t experimenting with drugs or thinking about trying drugs. It may surprise you to know that 54 per cent of overdose deaths in BC occurred in private residences. It is important for parents to know that this is not a problem isolated to homelessness or drug addicts – overdose deaths can easily happen to first time users or those experimenting with drugs.”

Parents are urged to speak to children about drugs, particularly fentanyl and how it may be hidden in other drugs.

Visit Fraser Health’s website (fraserhealth.ca/health-info) or Drug Free Kids Canada (drugfreekidscanada.org) for tips on how to talk to your kids about drugs.

The Surrey RCMP also offers a Parent Helpline (604-599-7800) that provides assistance to parents who are concerned about their children becoming involved in illegal activities.