New drug smuggling schemes challenge police
published on February 26, 2017 by Linda Givetash The Canadian Press in Global News
Illicit drugs have always been a problem in port cities, but experts say the emergence of highly potent synthetic opioids that are fuelling British Columbia’s overdose crisis are slipping through borders in new ways, presenting challenges for law enforcement.
International regulations, online ordering and the potency of the drug are among the factors making it difficult to prevent the drug from slipping through Canada’s borders.
Thomas Kerr, addictions researcher and professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia, said it’s no accident Vancouver’s geography is playing into the overdose crisis.
“People who work in the area of drug policy have known for decades that no matter which continent you are on, port cities tend to have a higher availability of a greater diversity of drugs, and that those drugs also tend to be more potent,” he said.
Simon Fraser University criminology professor Neil Boyd said the use of opiates in the Vancouver area dates back to the late 1800s.
Smoking opium was the recreational drug of choice in China at the time, he said, and was brought to B.C. with migration and trade.
He said the drug didn’t become illegal until the early part of the 20th century, and even then, public health was not the concern behind the law. Moral attitudes about opioids in Western countries, including Canada, drove prohibition, Boyd said.View the full article