Arrests in northern B.C. over allegations of trafficking safe-supply drugs

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — Police in Prince George, B.C., say they have arrested two people over allegations they were trafficking safe-supply drugs that are prescribed as an alternative to the toxic drug supply in the province. 

RCMP say they acted on tips from the public and information from other investigations to gather enough evidence to detain the two suspects who were “seen allegedly exchanging illicit drugs for safer supply drugs.”

Insp. Darin Rappel says in a statement that a subsequent search of one of the suspect’s homes revealed more safe-supply prescription drugs, along with suspected methamphetamine and fentanyl.

The RCMP say both suspects have been released without charge pending the results of their investigation, and both are known to police for drug-related offences.

The possible diversion of drugs from the safe-supply program — where those addicted to street opioids are prescribed alternative medications — emerged last month when Prince George police said more such medication was being discovered in trafficking investigations.

The statement triggered criticism of B.C.’s program from Alberta Premier Danielle Smith who worried the drugs would end up in her province, and federal Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre who pledged to scrap safe supply if he becomes prime minister.

B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said after the original police statement that he had been told by the RCMP that there was no evidence of widespread diversion of the safe-supply drugs.

Prince George Mounties say they have informed B.C. health authorities on the findings related to the latest discovery of safe-supply drugs possibly being trafficked.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 8, 2024.

The Canadian Press