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Police seize fentanyl moulded into gummy-bear and dinosaur shapes in Vancouver Island search

Mounties on Vancouver Island say more than 3,500 pills they seized while executing a search warrant last week were diverted from the province's prescription safer supply program. (Campbell River RCMP) Mounties on Vancouver Island say more than 3,500 pills they seized while executing a search warrant last week were diverted from the province's prescription safer supply program. (Campbell River RCMP)
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Mounties on Vancouver Island say more than 3,500 pills they seized while executing a search warrant last week were diverted from the province's prescription safer supply program.

The Dilaudid tablets were found alongside more than two kilograms of fentanyl, one kilogram of cocaine and one kilogram of methamphetamine in a home in the 600 block of Nursery Road in Campbell River on Feb. 21, the local RCMP detachment said in a news release this week.

"Dilaudid is a powerful opioid prescribed for severe pain or as a safe supply," the Campbell River RCMP statement reads.

"Evidence was located during the search suggesting that these Dilaudid pills had been diverted from safe supply prescriptions."

CTV News asked the detachment for more information about this evidence, as well as an estimate of how many different safer supply prescriptions the pills may have come from, but did not receive a response.

The diversion of opioids prescribed as safer supply was a key focus of the province's recent review of the program

At a news conference in early February, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said diversion does happen, but its extent and impact are unknown.

For people who use drugs, diverted opioids can be an alternative to the poisoned street supply. Diversion to people who don’t already use drugs and start to, on the other hand, can be harmful, she explained.

"Diversion is not, in itself, good or bad or right or wrong," Henry said at the time.

The recent seizure in Campbell River was the second involving Dilaudid pills in the city in as many weeks.

An earlier seizure on Feb. 14 yielded more than 1,400 of them. At the time, Mounties noted that Dilaudid is often prescribed as a safer alternative to street drugs, but did not specify whether they believed the seized pills had been diverted from a safer supply program. 

The most recent search on Feb. 21 also yielded more than $30,000 in cash, "a significant quantity of liquid GHB" and "numerous other prescription pills," police said in their release.

"Extensive documentation found on scene suggested a well-organized drug trafficking operation was being run from the residence," the statement reads. "Of note, some of the fentanyl powder had been moulded into the shape of gummy bears and dinosaurs."

Police said they also seized a 2022 Dodge Ram and a 1999 Jeep Cherokee as "offence-related property."

A woman in her 50s was arrested at the scene and released with a court date scheduled for May, police said, adding that they would be recommending charges against her and three others as a result of their investigation.

"This investigation and sizable drug seizure is an excellent example of the ongoing efforts of our officers to hold the criminal elements of the drug trade accountable for their illegal activities in our community," said Insp. Jeff Preston, in the release.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Lisa Steacy 

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