Police warn of possibly tainted drugs following 2 sudden deaths in Corner Brook area

Const. James Cadigan is the media relations and social media officer with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.
RNC Const. James Cadigan says police believe tainted drugs could be in circulation in the Corner Brook area, following two deaths that appear to be drug-related and three instances in which medical treatment was needed after drug use. (Terry Roberts/CBC)

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is warning residents of western Newfoundland about the prevalence of possibly tainted drugs following two sudden deaths in the Corner Brook area.

In a press release issued Monday, the police said they believe the deaths could be tied to an increase in the availability of illicit drugs in the region. Both happened in the past two weeks, the release said, and police also responded to three separate incidents in which medical treatment was required after drug use.

RNC media relations officer Const. James Cadigan said the causes of death will take time to confirm but police believe there's a risk to the public.

"It's clear that the drugs and illicit drugs on the streets right now are containing substances that are causing harm to our communities," Cadigan told CBC News on Wednesday.

"Time is of the essence in these scenarios, and we want to make sure that the community has the information to protect themselves.… If we waited, we may lose another life."

Cadigan didn't go into specifics regarding the circumstances of either death but did say naloxone had to be administered in at least one of the instances when medical treatment was required.

The RCMP-RNC Joint Forces Operation West, which focuses on organized crime and drug trafficking in western Newfoundland, is investigating, Cadigan said.

"A big part of that process is communication with the community. If you have information that you believe can protect your community or information related to trafficking, it's important that you provide that information."

Cadigan said if someone is going to use drugs, they should have with a naloxone kit on hand.

The kits, which contain a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose, are free and available across Newfoundland and Labrador, and can often be found at distribution sites like care centres and town hall. A full list is available through the Department of Health and Community Services.

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