RCMP Cpl. Daniel Block and his five-year-old Police Service Dog Eve, give a demonstration on how they are trained to detect the deadly opioid fentanyl. Carlie Connolly/Black Press

RCMP leading the world in fentanyl detection

Media given demonstration at training facility near Innisfail

The RCMP are the first police force in the world to train their dogs in detecting fentanyl.

Members of the media got to see that training firsthand during a demonstration at the RCMP Police Dog Services training facility near Innisfail recently.

“We developed this technique within the RCMP – nobody else in the world has done this,” said Insp. Akrum Ghadban, officer in charge of the RCMP Police Dog Services Training Centre. “We’ve been working with other police forces within Canada and around the world. In fact, just last month, we had a training session here with our American partners as well as partners from Mexico. It is something that we’re sharing because what we do is save lives and it does us no good to hoard secrets. It’s something that we want out there in the world.”

Across the country, 135 police dogs have been trained to detect fentanyl, an opioid about 100 times more toxic than morphine which can cause serious harm or even death. Two milligrams of fentanyl can be a lethal dosage – the equivalent of two grains of salt, according to officials.

The detection technique developed by the RCMP includes mixing 2 mgs of fentanyl that is 90-100% purity and 120 mls of sterile, distilled water. The powder is dropped into the water, sealed and shaken until the powder is dissolved. Ten drops of the mixture is then placed on a makeup remover pad for the dog to indirectly smell.

The dogs are trained to search for the drug and then sit in front of the area they have detected it as a signal to their handler.

Ghadban said the training is helping to make their dogs and handlers safer on the streets.

“Before we had this technique, dogs would go out in the world – they were coming across fentanyl every day and not realizing it. Now that they can detect fentanyl, they provide that positive sit confirmation where they won’t pursue the source,” he said. “Once our dogs are trained, you saw today how quickly they pick it up and how quickly they retain it. We are expecting big things to come.”

He added the training is working as evidenced by the recent seizure of 12,000 tablets in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland.

Kathleen Ganley, minister of justice and solicitor general, was also on hand for the demonstration.

“Training Police Service Dogs to detect fentanyl is an example of how the RCMP is continuing to focus and address urgent issues facing law enforcement organizations and the communities they serve and protect. Police alone are not responsible for combating the opioid crisis, but this initiative will save lives and likely already has. Training Police Service Dogs to detect fentanyl will help authorities intercept this deadly drug before it makes it on our streets.”

Just Posted

Big lottery win for Maskwacis man

A man from Maskwacis saw some lucky numbers ring up the big… Continue reading

Ponoka town council concludes two-day budget deliberations

Council prepared to take pay cut to keep tax increase low

UPDATED: Williams has been located

RCMP looking for Darren Williams

Ponoka’s St. Augustine Queens hoping to add a provincial crown

Volleyball squad makes third appearance at provincial championship

November is Family Violence Prevention Month

The month of November is Family Violence Prevention Month and Alberta has… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: Holiday outfits on a budget

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Alberta MLAs reject bill for health workers who refuse service based on moral beliefs

Bill would have meant workers could not be sued for refusing to provide services like abortions

Study finds microplastics in all remote Arctic beluga whales tested

Lead author Rhiannon Moore says she wasn’t expecting to see so many microplastics so far north

RCMP find burned out vehicles near Pigeon Lake

Wetaskiwin RCMP Recovered Numerous Stolen Vehicles in Pigeon Lake Area

Millet gas station robbed, worker bear sprayed

Wetaskiwin RCMP Investigate Armed Robbery, Seek information and ID Suspect

Environmental group’s lawsuit seeks to quash ‘anti-Alberta’ inquiry

UCP launched inquiry into where Canadian environmental charities get their funding

Federal laws at heart of West’s anger up for debate, as Liberals begin outreach

Vancouver mayor to Trudeau’s western critics: ‘Get over yourselves’

Snowboard pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter dies at 65

He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011

Teen developed ‘popcorn lung’ due to vaping: Ontario doctors

Boy went from being in perfect health to being on life support after just five months

Most Read