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Extreme naloxone revival prompts warning about pink crystal meth in Saskatoon

Saskatoon’s supervised consumption site has issued a public drug warning after its staff administered a staggering amount of naloxone on someone who overdosed.

Prairie Harm Reduction (PHR) executive director Jason Mercredi said a client overdosed Thursday afternoon after injecting pink crystal meth.

It took CPR and 27 shots of naloxone to revive them, Mercredi said.

Read more:
Saskatchewan government denies new funding for supervised consumption site

“Twenty-seven shots is the highest we’ve ever done. It’s a little nuts,” Mercredi said in an interview on Friday.

PHR staff believe the meth, a highly addictive stimulant, was laced with a large amount of fentanyl. Due to the difficult revival, they speculate it was also laced with a barbiturate, a central nervous system depressant.

Meth varies in colour depending on how it’s made, Mercredi said.

The Saskatoon Police Service’s (SPS) drug unit said it has not encountered pink meth recently.

Click to play video: Saskatoon’s crystal meth response plan hampered by COVID-19 pandemic

“They have not seen or heard of, or seized, any type of the drug that Prairie Harm mentioned,” SPS spokesperson Kelsie Fraser said in an email to Global news.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t out there, Mercredi said.

“The fear is always that it’s more widely spread into the community,” he said.

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PHR has asked front-line organizations to share the warning.

Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. (CUMFI) feeds up to 350 vulnerable people a day. CUMFI president Shirley Isbister said she hasn’t seen pink meth pop up, but will spread the word.

“Of course it’s a worry,” Isbister said. “Crystal meth and opioids are… a huge concern in our community.”

Fatal overdoses have skyrocketed in Saskatchewan. As of April 6, there have been 25 confirmed and 78 suspected overdose deaths, according to the Saskatchewan coroners service.

Thursday’s life-saving intervention proves supervised consumption sites are needed, Mercredi said.

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“We’re able to do more than… just stop people from dying. Now we’re starting on case management with [the client who overdosed],” Mercredi said.

PHR’s requests for $1.3 million to operate the supervised consumption site around the clock have been twice denied by the provincial government. Dozens of local businesses and organizations are fundraising for PHR to fill the gap.

“The fact that non-profits are fundraising for us shows that the community understands this need is there,” Mercredi said. “It’s just basically the elected officials that are the only ones who don’t seem to get that this site is needed.”

The site is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. Mercredi said he hopes PHR can use community donations to expand its hours in the months ahead.

Click to play video: Unanswered distress calls: Overdose response requires political will, community members say

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