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Why an overdose death in Dawson Creek is being treated differently than anywhere else

FILE PHOTO - Pictured in this file photo are bags of drugs seized by Kamloops RCMP and displayed for the media on June 2, 2016. Fentanyl has been attributed to several overdoses in the Dawson Creek area this year.
June 05, 2016 - 8:00 PM


KAMLOOPS - Earlier this week, Dawson Creek RCMP warned drug dealers they could be held criminally responsible if they supplied drugs to someone who died of an overdose, but other detachments may not be following in their footsteps.

On May 31, spokesperson for North District RCMP Cpl. Dave Tyreman issued a media release saying an increase of overdoses in Dawson Creek may be attributed to a highly-potent, potentially lethal drug.

Over the last year, Dawson Creek Mounties have responded to 19 drug overdose calls, the majority of which were attributed to fentanyl. Ten of these incidents occurred between February of this year to current date, one of which was fatal.

"Dawson Creek RCMP want you to know that persons involved in the sale of any illegal drugs, which subsequently results in the death of the user, could be held criminally liable," Tyreman says in the release.

He told in a phone interview the possible charges could include trafficking in a controlled substance, criminal negligence causing death and/or manslaughter.

But a criminal defence lawyer says that could be easier said than done.

"It would be very difficult to prove causation," Jay Michi of Jensen Law in Kamloops says.

Kamloops RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jodi Shelkie says her detachment will make those decisions on a case-by-case basis with guidance from Crown counsel.

Tyreman agrees, noting Crown would be able to determine whether or not police had enough evidence against a dealer and determine the best path to go from there.

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