There has been a surge in the use of counterfeit currency across the province and on Wednesday, Jan. 11 two females purchased various items using counterfeit USD 50 bills at the Stettler Walmart.
The first suspect has been described as a Caucasian with bright red hair, wearing a long white sweater under a jacket and black boots. She also had a black-and-white scarf on and carried a dark-coloured purse.
The second suspect is also described as a Caucasian with dark brown or black hair, wearing a dark-coloured jacket with black boots and carried a white purse or bag.
If a community member finds any information regarding this incident, they are encouraged to contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or the Stettler RCMP detachment directly.
Naloxone kits a ‘must-have’: Stettler pharmacist
Many illicit drug users, looking for a quick and powerful high, have turned to the opioid painkiller fentanyl to sate their urges.
The drug has become such a problem and risk of overdose that Alberta RCMP are advising landlords and the public in general how to spot illicit fentanyl laboratories.
Like any illicit drug lab, fentanyl drug labs are dangerous both physically and in the societal problems that arise from having a drug supply in the community.
“Drug labs often incorporate a number of volatile chemicals, making them unstable (or) unpredictable and prone to violent reactions – i.e. explosions,” Stettler RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Phil Penny said.
It’s not just drug-related crimes that increase when drug labs move into the community, Penny noted.
“The desire to obtain drugs may result in the increase in other crimes, most notably property crimes,” he said. The increase in property crimes is often due to addicts trying to score their next fix, requiring money they don’t have.
“(Property crimes increase) in an effort to either obtain something to trade or pawn for money to fuel an addiction,” Penny said.
Fentanyl is one of the last-resort opioid painkillers on the market, an exceptionally strong drug used when other pain relief options have been exhausted. Like all opium-derived drugs, fentanyl is addictive.
Due to its potency, the drug has been the cause of hundreds of overdose deaths, prompting fentanyl-based drug overdoses to be declared a public health crisis in September 2015.
In the first three quarters of 2016, almost 200 people died in Alberta from fentanyl overdoses. Numbers for the fourth quarter are not yet available from Alberta Health Services.
The ability to easily overdose on fentanyl has prompted Alberta Health Services to create fentanyl overdose kits that are available across the province, including at pharmacies in Stettler.
The kits come with syringes, naloxone, and a rescue barrier mask in case the victim stops breathing.
Amer Sharaf, pharmacist at Stettler’s PharmaSave, said he recommends anyone on powerful opioids bring home a kit and learn how to use it.
“There are training videos online,” he said.
Even the most cautious person can overdose, and sometimes people not intending to get a dose of the drug can do so by coming into contact with discarded patches.
“I’d recommend that people have these in their homes if fentanyl is prescribed,” he said.