In 2021, Alberta lost over 800 lives to meth-related accidental overdoses – a 28% increase from such tragic fatalities in 2020. On Aug. 31, 2022, the Alberta RCMP recognizes International Overdose Awareness Day by launching a methamphetamine awareness campaign in collaboration with the Canadian Integrated Response to Organized Crime. The campaign will help educate, protect and inform the public about negative impacts of methamphetamine and other synthetic drugs – as well as highlight the Alberta Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) Team and their role as a liaison with the chemical industry.
Methamphetamine is pervasive in our communities and has contributed to property crimes and crimes of violence. The Criminal Intelligence Service Canada identified methamphetamine as having one of the highest threat levels "due to its geographical reach, high burden of harm, and increased involvement of organized crime groups." According to a 2017 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs Survey, 3.7% of Canadians have used methamphetamine at least once in their lifetime. While methamphetamine use among the general population in Canada may be low, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction notes that "there has been a dramatic increase in the availability and harms associated with methamphetamine in Canada" since 2013 - with notable trends in Western regions.
The Alberta CLEAR Team provides specialized operational support in identifying, assessing, processing and dismantling illegal synthetic drug production labs, processing locations, dump sites and Butane Hash Oil labs. Often, the CLEAR Team is called upon to liaise with the chemical industry in Alberta to 'back track' chemical precursors and facilitate the real time exchange of information regarding methods of diversion and indicators of suspicious transactions.
In the coming months, Alberta RCMP will share information at @AlbertaRCMP on Twitter and the @RCMPinAlberta Facebook page. To keep updated, follow #MethHurtsCommunities.
Table 1: Alberta Substance Use Surveillance System
|Meth-related accidental overdoses||655||836|
|Emergency Department visits related to substance use||10,846||10,401|
|Naloxone kits given out (community site and pharmacy kits)||100,257||154,171|
|Self reported reversals||8,554||15,623|
|Total number of EMS responses to opioid related event||5,245||8,253|
|Weekly average of EMS responses to opioid related event||98.96||158.71|
Table 2: Drug Analysis Services
|Total number of stimulants identified during analysis per year||7,285||7,702|
|Number of methamphetamine samples||4,236||4,095|
Table 3: Alberta RCMP Methamphetamine Offences
|Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking||404||373|
|Possession for the Purpose of Exporting||1||0|
|Possess/Produce/Sell/Import Anything Used to Produce/Traffic||6||4|
Source: RCMP Police Reporting and Occurrence System