(File photo)

Vancouver police ask for $700,000 drug-testing facility in wake of opiod crisis

‘It wouldn’t surprise me if we would see officers come across [fentanyl] on a daily basis:’ spokesman

Vancouver police have asked the city for $700,000 to prevent officers from being exposed to harmful substances like fentanyl.

The department is looking to building a new facility to test drugs they seize, especially with the sharp rise in the amount of fentanyl officers encounter on the streets.

“We are paving the way for this, so we are one of the first,” spokesperson Sgt. Jason Robillard said. “But this may be something other police departments might be looking at.”

Robillard declined to say how many officers have been exposed to the opioid, citing privacy concerns, but did say it “wouldn’t surprise” him if officers were coming across it every day.

He said the facility would be a controlled environment, with fume hoods, an emergency shower and a monitoring system, allowing officers to shut off air vents to the rest of the facility should an issue arise.

The force already takes precautions when dealing with fentanyl both on the street and inside its current facilities.

“If there’s an officer who comes into contact with some substance, out of an abundance of caution we take them to a hospital,” Robillard said, noting that it happens “quite a bit.”

Vancouver Coastal Health has the highest number of illicit drug-related overdose deaths this year so far.

According to a proposed 2018 budget, the facility would be the department’s major capital project for the year.

One portion of the funding, $500,000, would go towards construction and $200,000 would go towards outfitting the containment facility with equipment.

City council is expected to vote on the 2018 budget in a meeting Wednesday morning.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Hope’s Wheeled Wild Women hit the road for cancer research

Group of friends ready for the 200-km bike trek that ends in Hope

Comedy, chicken poop and dancing at Lytton Festival

This year’s festival will honour longtime supporter Shirley James

Hope women save man from potential train incident

Man was standing on 6th Avenue tracks as train approached crossing with horn blasting

PHOTOS: Paintings return to Kilby for fifth annual festival

The Plein Air Festival will be taking place at the historic site all weekend

Cougar spotted in Seabird Island

Residents are asked to report all sightings to conservation

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

Most Read