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Tag: drug overdose

Piikani Nation logo of buffalo on drum with feathers, on red background

Three Piikani Nation members lost to apparent drug overdoses

RCMP on the Piikani Nation are looking into the deaths of three women, between the ages of 30 and 60, believed to have died from fentanyl overdoses.

Few details have been released but Alberta RCMP public information officer Troy Savinkoff confirmed to Shootin’ the Breeze that the women were found deceased in separate instances on Dec. 25, 27 and 29.

While the deaths show signs of drug overdose, Savinkoff added, the final determination will be made by the medical examiner assigned to the case.

Piikani RCMP issued a warning Dec. 27, shared by Piikani Tsi Nii Ka Sin, of a “bad batch of drugs” in circulation in the area after the second death, adding that narcan administration did not appear to be successful.

On Tuesday, Chief Troy Knowlton and Piikani Nation council enacted a state of emergency for the community. Under the Federal Emergencies Act, Knowlton said it will allow measures to prevent drug use, improve emergency treatment and provide additional resources to agencies dealing with both drug abuse and its side effects.



The chief opened a Jan. 3 statement by saying, “The situation affecting our nation is not unique to us. Drugs, especially opioids and fentanyl, may prove to be the public policy challenge of the century, affecting every community from coast to coast. However, in a tight-knit community like ours, the impacts of drugs, especially addiction and, tragically, death, particularly among our youth, reverberate pain throughout our entire nation.”

Acknowledging that Piikani Nation is facing a long-term and complicated issue, the chief and council plan to take action by working with local RCMP to crack down on gangs and drug traffickers with augmented law-enforcement measures to tackle the source of the problem.

“It is my goal, and the goal of my council, to bring an end to or at least significantly reduce the availability of drugs,” Knowlton said, “and to prevent deaths among those who have had their lives ensnared by drugs.”

His words come just days after a Dec. 27 Alberta RCMP report stated that officers responded to over 100 per cent more drug overdoses provincewide from January to November 2023 than in all of 2022 — with fentanyl at the centre of most of the fatalities.

The RCMP statistics also revealed a nearly 25 per cent climb in naloxone deployments by its members in 2023 compared to the year prior. 

An even more alarming figure: 1,262 opioid-related deaths occurred in Alberta from January to August of last year, 255 higher than in the same period of 2022.


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Toxic drug alerts in place for B.C. Interior Health Authority

British Columbia’s Interior Health Authority, which covers the East Kootenay and includes the communities of Sparwood, Fernie and Cranbrook, came out with two separate toxic drug alerts for the region last week.

The first warning, on Nov. 14, for the entire health region, was for fake Dilaudid (hydromorphone) tablets. Also known as dillies, the pills, which look like the genuine prescription given out by pharmacists, present a very high risk for overdose.

The counterfeit tablets contain five per cent isotonitazene, but at that level are still considered equally or more potent than fentanyl, according to the IHA, and believed to be 20 times or more powerful than the real product.

Two days later, the health authority posted an even more worrisome warning for Cranbrook for the drug xylazine, being found increasingly in tested samples of “down.”


Aerial view of the Cowley Lions Campground on the Castle River in southwestern Alberta


Sold as down, dope or fentanyl, it can produce amnesia or sleepiness and might be made with dangerous levels of fentanyl, fentanyl analogue, xylazine or benzodiazepines. An added concern: it may also be resistant to naloxone, a temporary measure first responders will use to bring someone out of a drug-induced coma.

While the alert was issued in B.C., drug enforcement agencies are quick to point out that supply can easily gain access into other provinces, like Alberta, very quickly.

Drug alert poster showing samples of down — two orange and one green — that look like rock candy
Drug advisory poster showing white, fake dilaudid tablet


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Piikani RCMP investigate drug overdose death

Piikani Nation RCMP investigate death from suspected drug overdose

Piikani RCMP received a 911 call Sunday at 8:30 a.m. reporting a female in medical distress at a residence on the Piikani Nation.

Police and emergency medical services attended the residence, where an 18-year-old female was found to be in cardiac arrest. Despite lifesaving efforts, the woman was pronounced deceased at the scene.

An autopsy is scheduled for later this week in Calgary.

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Preliminary investigation indicates the death may be related to a drug overdose and the investigation is ongoing.

Although there is no indication this death is related to other suspected overdoses reported in Alberta over the weekend, RCMP warn the public that illicit substances may be associated with drugs that may be laced with lethal quantities of opioid-related substances such as fentanyl, carfentanil or methamphetamines.

If anyone has information about this incident, please contact Piikani RCMP at 403-965-2000 or your local police.

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at, or by using the P3 Tips app.


Indoor and outdoor view of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.


Table setting of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.