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Red Deer RCMP Investigate Two-Vehicle Collision – Update – Charges Laid

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Red Deer, AB – A Red Deer man faces multiple charges after the stolen truck he was driving struck an SUV at the intersection of Oliver Street and Taylor Drive Friday evening.
 
The female driver of the SUV was sent to hospital with serious injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening. Red Deer RCMP do not have further information on the injuries to the female driver at this time.
 
During the suspect’s arrest, RCMP seized numerous pieces of identification including passports and driver’s licenses, a bag of vehicle keys, break-in instruments, a bag of costume jewellery and electronics from the truck. More charges may be pending as RCMP track ownership of these items.
 
29 year old Ryan Shane Schuster faces the following charges:
·         Criminal Code 249(3) – Dangerous operation of motor vehicle causing bodily harm
·         Criminal Code 355(a) – Possession of stolen property over $5,000
·         Criminal Code 145(3) – Fail to comply with conditions X 2
·         Criminal Code 733.1(1) – Fail to comply with probation X 2
 
Schuster was remanded to appear in court on May 29 at 9:30 am.
 
 
BACKGROUND:
 
May 25, 2018
RCMP Red Deer Detachment – Two Vehicle Collision
 
Red Deer, AB – On May 25, 2018 at approximately 8:45 p.m., members of the Red Deer detachment and Red Deer Traffic Services responded to a collision at the intersection of Taylor Drive and Oliver Street. 
 
A Ford F350 pickup truck had collided with a Dodge Journey SUV in what appeared to be an intersection related violation. At this time, the investigators have determined that the pickup truck was stolen out of Red Deer, and the 29-year-old driver has been arrested. The occupants of the SUV included a 78-year-old female driver and two children, ages eight and six. The female driver has been transported to hospital with unknown injuries. The two children were examined at the scene by EMS, and have since been released to their parents, uninjured.
 
At this time, Red Deer Detachment Traffic Services, with the assistance of the RCMP Collision Analyst, continue to investigate, and charges are pending.
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Crime

More drugs and firearms seized in relation to recent Red Deer bust

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News release from the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team

More drugs and firearms were seized in Red Deer as a follow-up to an investigation that took place in late May 2024.

On June 26, 2024 ALERT Red Deer’s organized crime team searched a home and vehicle with the help of Red Deer RCMP. A planned vehicle stop was conducted and a suspect arrested, followed up with the search on a home in the Pines neighbourhood.

The seizure came on the heels of a recent drug and firearms seizure that took place in May 2024, in which a news release was issued on June 20, 2024. That seizure, which took place at a home in the Eastview neighbourhood, featured ALERT locating more than $220,000 worth of drugs and five firearms.

“Our work doesn’t stop with an arrest. ALERT remains diligent in exploring other targets and places of interest to ensure we completely dismantle drug trafficking networks,” said Insp. Brad Lundeen, ALERT Regional.

Following the Eastview seizure, ALERT continued to target the suspects and identified a second suspected drug stash location at a home in the Pines.

A search of the Pines home and vehicle yielded approximately $70,000 worth of drugs, including:

  • 5 firearms;
  • 655 grams of methamphetamine;
  • 50 grams of cocaine;
  • 19 grams of fentanyl; and
  • $5,540 cash.

One of the firearms, a rifle, had its serial number defaced. None of the firearms were lawfully possessed and will be sent to ALERT’s Provincial Firearms Solutions Lab for ballistics testing and analysis.

Charges have yet to been laid from either investigation but several suspects have been identified. The investigation remains ongoing as investigators prepare reports and disclosure for Crown Counsel.

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.

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Addictions

Leading addiction doctor warns of Canada’s ‘safer supply’ disaster

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A man considers using a prescription opioid. Credit: Dreamstime

By Liam Hunt

Addiction physician Dr. Sharon Koivu has seen the effects of safer supply programs in her clinical practice and personal life — and is sounding the alarm

Dr. Sharon Koivu, an addiction physician and parent, believes her son might not have survived to adulthood if Canada’s “safer supply” programs had been in effect during his adolescence.

Having worked on the front lines of Ontario’s opioid crisis, she views these programs as a catastrophic failure.

In an extended interview, Koivu explained the unintended consequences of these programs, which offer free tablets of hydromorphone — an opioid about as strong as heroin – to vulnerable patients with a history of addiction. While advocates of safer supply claim it mitigates the use of more dangerous illicit substances, there is evidence that most users divert — that is, sell or trade — their hydromorphone to acquire stronger substances.

Safer supply was first piloted in London, Ont., in 2016, before being widely expanded across Canada in 2020 with the help of generous federal grants. While the program looked good on paper, Koivu, who provides comprehensive addiction consultation services at a London-based hospital, saw a different reality: her patients were destabilizing, relapsing and fatally overdosing because of safer supply.

Koivu says that “one hundred percent” of her colleagues working in addiction medicine have noticed safer supply diversion. Some patients have told her they have been threatened with violence if they do not procure and divert these drugs. She estimates that, because of safer supply, tens of thousands of diverted hydromorphone pills — also known as “Dilaudid,” “dillies” or “D8s” — are flooding into Canadian streets every day.

For context, just two or three of these pills, if snorted, are enough to induce an overdose in a new user.

This influx has caused the drug’s street price to crash by as much as 95 per cent. While 8-milligram hydromorphone pills used to sell for $20 each several years ago, they can now be bought for as little as a dollar or two. These rock-bottom prices have ignited a new wave of addictions and relapses, and lured opioid-naive individuals into experimenting with what is essentially pharmaceutical heroin.

Koivu estimates that 80 per cent of her opioid-using patients now take diverted hydromorphone.

“The biggest harm is that we’ve turned on the tap and we’ve made everything cheap, which is leading to a large increase in the number of people becoming addicted and suffering,” she said.

“It is the most serious issue that I’ve seen in my lifetime.”

Safer supply programs seem to regularly overprescribe opioids without considering patients’ actual needs, Koivu says. Patients have come into her hospital with prescriptions that provide 40 eight-milligram hydromorphone pills a day, even though they can only tolerate 10 pills.

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‘That attraction is horrific’

Throughout the first few decades of Koivu’s career, almost “everyone” in her patient pool developed addictions due to childhood traumas or from mishandling opioids prescribed for chronic pain.

Since the advent of safer supply, the origins of new opioid addictions have shifted toward social or recreational exposure. Concerningly, this exposure often occurs in patients’ adolescent years.

“I’m seeing an increase in youth becoming addicted,” said Koivu, who has had patients as young as 15 tell her their addictions began through diverted hydromorphone.

“Almost everyone I see who’s started since 2018 started recreationally. It started as something that was at a party. It’s now a recreational drug at the youth level.”

Parents often seem completely unaware of the problem. Some have told Koivu they overheard their children discussing the availability of “D8s” at their highschools, only to later realize — when it was too late — they were referring to opioids.

“You can’t walk into your house with a six-pack of beer. If you’re smoking weed, people can smell it. But you can walk into your house with a lot of [tablets] in your pocket. So, it’s cheap, really easy to hide, and is even called ‘safe’ by the government. I think that attraction is horrific.”

“Our youth are dying at a higher rate … and we have a lot more hydromorphone found in [their bodies] at the time of death.”

While safer supply programs claim to make communities safer, Koivu’s lived experiences suggest the opposite. She used to reside in London’s Old East Village, where the city’s first safer supply program opened in 2016, but moved away after watching her neighbourhood deteriorate from widespread crime, overdoses and drug trafficking.

“I moved there to support a supervised injection site,” said Koivu. “Then I watched that community drastically change when safer supply was implemented. … I would go for walks and directly see diversion taking place. Homelessness is very complicated, but this has absolutely fueled it in ways that are unconscionable.”

Dr. Sharon Koivu

Koivu characterizes the evidentiary standards used by advocates of safer supply as “deeply problematic.” She says many of the studies supporting safer supply are qualitative — meaning they rely on interviews — and use anecdotal data from patients who have a vested interest in perpetuating the program.

While Koivu has been blowing the whistle on safer supply programs for years, her concerns largely went unnoticed until recently. She has faced years of harassment and denigration for her views.

“When I came to say I’m concerned about what I’m seeing: the infections, the suffering, the encampments … I was literally told that I was lying,” she said.

Last month, the London Police Service provided the National Post with data showing that annual hydromorphone seizures increased by 3,000 per cent after access to safer supply was significantly expanded in 2020. The newspaper has since raised questions about why this data was not released earlier and whether the police stonewalled attempts to investigate the issue.

Koivu considers herself a lifelong progressive and has historically supported the New Democratic Party. But she is concerned many left-leaning politicians have ignored criticism of safer supply. Many seemingly believe that opposition to it is inherently conservative.

“I went to a hearing in Ottawa of a standing committee to talk about addiction,” she said. “We had five minutes to give a talk, and then two hours to answer questions, [but] I didn’t receive any questions from the NDP or the Liberals.”

Although Koivu believes safe supply can play a role in the continuum of care for opioid addiction, she says it must be executed in a meticulous manner that prevents diversion and emphasizes pathways to recovery.

“It needs to be part of a comprehensive strategy to help people get their lives back. And right now, it’s not.”

Above all, it is Koivu’s experience as a mother that drives her to criticize safer supply. One of her sons struggled with opioid addiction as a young adult. Although he eventually recovered, the experience could have killed him.

“Had this program been around … my family could have been another statistic from an opioid death. That drives me. Because it’s very real, and it’s very personal.”

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