Almost 500 community members in Maple Ridge attended a fentanyl forum to get informed about the dangerous drug.
Parents, students and general members of the concerned public packed out the forum at Westview Secondary School.
Those attending saw a presentation carried out by members of the RCMP and former addicts who spoke honestly about the effects the drug had on them.
It was a full house and organizer Tony Cotroneo hopes the number of drug-related deaths in Maple Ridge will go down as a result.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if it went down because of this, tonight. People are going to tell people what they heard and what they know and they’re going to look for different signs, they’re going to be more aware. When you have 500 people in a community showing up like that, there’s going to be a difference.”
School trustee and organizer of the forum, Susan Carr, says it’s time to take the crisis seriously.
“If you’re not a habitual user, your system is not used to this fentanyl stuff, it will take you down and that’s what’s happening, and that’s what’s scary and that’s what people need to know. And if they think it’s not happening, well then, they’re delusional and if they think that kids are not experimenting with drugs in high schools, they’re also delusional.”
Between January and August this year, there have been twenty overdose-related deaths in Maple Ridge alone.
Data from the Coroner’s Service this summer showed more than 400 people had died in B.C. of overdoses this year, three quarters of those linked to fentanyl.