By Chris Pickup

Much of local property crime is linked to ‘desperate’ drug addicts looking for money for their next fix, or to pay off their dealer, according to Haldimand Norfolk Street Crime members Mike Salverda and DC Lewis.

The two members of the elite team, comprised of three members each of the Norfolk and Haldimand OPP, under the supervision of a Norfolk-based detective sergeant, were at council committee last Tuesday to explain some details of the program.

Drugs are picked up by local drug dealers and sold to neighbouring municipalities. Team members, with more time than road units, track community level drug and property crime stats and get out on the street talking to people and gathering intelligence, receiving information on a daily basis.

A house fire led to the recovery of 110 lbs of marijuana, the potency of which back in the seventies was 4% but is now 21% and may also be cross-contaminated with other drugs.  Another product that looks like honey has 80% THC content. Other information led to someone who was stealing stuff from mailboxes.

Drugs are considerably more dangerous than they used to be, killing users who are often not aware they are laced with other drugs.

Columbia produces 910 tons of cocaine in bricks that are broken up and chipped for sale. Fentanyl, which in 2016 was traded patch for patch, is now in pill format burned on tinfoil, 100 times the potency of morphine and 40 times that of heroin.

Carfentenyl is 100 times more potent than fentanyl and 50 times that of heroin. So many people were dying from overdose that in May 2017 legal protection was extended to witnesses of overdose who call for help for the victim with naxalone.

Prescription oxycodone and ecstasy are still around. Methadone is helping stabilize the lives of drug addicts.

The Street Crime unit, which recently won a Recognition Award from Crime stoppers, also deals with other police agencies, the health unit, and families who have a child addicted to drugs. Six separate drug warrants were recently issued by Haldimand.

The next major issue for police, the team warned, is going to be with impaired operation of vehicles after the legalization of marijuana.

A question from Corbett about drugs in Dunnville garnered the diplomatic answer, “Dunnville had that stigma. Every small town has druggies in it.”