LaSalle police say opioid safety alert 'not fearmongering' after criticism from students

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LaSalle police say opioid safety alert 'not fearmongering' after criticism from students

LaSalle police say opioid safety alert 'not fearmongering' after criticism from students

A public safety alert issued by LaSalle police warning parents that students were "scrambling" to find drugs after the arrest of an alleged dealer is "over exaggerated," say teens in the town.

The post, which police shared on Facebook, urged adults to lock their doors, cars and garages and to be on the lookout for kids suffering symptoms of withdrawal.

"A lot of students are scrambling to get other sources/suppliers for drugs," said the post. "Indications are that some are turning to other drugs, while some are struggling with withdrawal symptoms."

That came as news to Grade 9 student Jake Schincariol.

"I've never heard of an incident where kids my age, 14-16, have had to vandalize or steal for drug money," said Schincariol. "That doesn't seem to be an issue in LaSalle or Windsor."

The 14-year-old attends Sandwich Secondary School, where he said drugs aren't a major issue, even among older students.

Schincariol said his mom showed him the safety alert about addictive opioids. He believes it could offend students and cause problems between them and their peers and parents.

Joseph White, who is also in Grade 9, said he hasn't heard of any students "scrambling" to find drugs.

"I think it's a little over exaggerated to say lock your doors and stuff," said White.

Not fearmongering

Lasalle Police Constable Harbinder Gill said the alert was shared based on information from "credible sources" that young people in the town were searching for a new dealer after one of their main suppliers was busted.

"This is not fearmongering," he said. "We are not in the business of fearmongering."

Earlier this month, LaSalle police arrested and charged a 20-year-old Amherstburg woman with possession of Fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking. Officers seized 130 capsules of Fentanyl with an approximate street value of $9,100.

Gill suggested parents return any unused opioids to a pharmacy and count any that they have left. Another option is to move them from the medicine cabinet to a locked safe, he said.

"Imagine how bad you would feel if a child came to your house, took those drugs … and dies of a drug overdose or hurts himself terribly," said Gill.

Schools haven't seen students scrambling

Catholic school educators in LaSalle have not noticed any unusual behaviour from students, said board spokesperson Stephen Fields.

He added the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board already has programs embedded in its curriculum to warn kids about the dangers of drugs, but they support any efforts by police to keep students safe.

"If it's the kind of thing that helps even a handful of students getting them off these drugs and into rehabilitation programs then it's useful," Fields said.