Virden RCMP Corporal Brian Weatherald says the drug world has changed with methamphetamine use. “Users can die the first time they use the drug, especially if it is cut with fentanyl,” says Corporal Weatherald. He adds that the drug’s presence in Virden is not as high as in larger cities like Winnipeg, and even Brandon.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid, similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent. Methamphetamine cut with fentanyl poses a problem for police attending scenes where the white powder is found, because unless the substance is tested in a lab there is no way to identify it. As little as two milligrams of fentanyl (an amount as small as two grains of salt ) is enough to cause overdose and death.
Last April, Virden RCMP attended a scene of a vehicle by Gladstone, where the inside of the vehicle was covered with a white powder. In this situation, a Hazmat team was called in to determine what the substance was.
Corporal Weatherald says that police are super-cautious when they come across any unknown, white powder substances. Every police member has been issued a Narcan Kit (the kit contains, naloxone, a medication that reverses the effects of an overdose from opioids), which they carry on themselves at all times. Police cars have also been equipped with respirators.
Methamphetamine use can cause an increase in crime. Corporal Weatherald recalls three months ago, a man and woman using meth, committed a string of petty crimes in the Virden area. He adds that dealing with criminals who are on meth adds another risk; criminals high on meth tend to be more aggressive, unpredictable, and extremely strong.
Methamphetamine is most often a white to light brown crystalline powder. It may also be found in clear chunky crystals that resemble broken pieces of ice or shards of glass; and it can be found in a liquid form as well.
Methamphetamine is taken by snorting, smoking it, or injecting it with a needle. The drug gives the user a false sense of happiness and well-being, a rush of confidence, hyper-activeness, and energy; as well as decreases appetite. These effects usually last between six to eight hours.
The high is followed by a crash when the body becomes unable to cope with the drug’s effects. During the crash the meth user can experience extended periods of sleep lasting from one to three days. Next comes the meth hangover, this can last two to fourteen days, when the body is trying to heal itself from the effects of the drug. Last, is the extremely painful meth withdrawal, which can last 30 to 90 days. Often during withdrawal, use of meth is revisited to avoid the painful and depressing symptoms.
(Methamphetamine)Corporal Weatherald says that police are super-cautious when they come across any unknown, white powder substances.