Police have issued a public warning after a baby found a bag of a substance believed to be fentanyl in a Kamloops park.
The child found the baggie just before 10 a.m. on Sunday while playing in McDonald Park on King Street in North Kamloops.
The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag with a marijuana-leaf design containing a purple substance.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Simon Pillay praised the mother’s action in realizing what her daughter had found and taking the bag from her.
“Thankfully, in the case at hand, an attentive parent caught her child with these found drugs before any harm could be done,” he said.
“It serves as a good reminder to speak with your kids about the reality of hazards that could be found in public spaces.”
Mom Stefanie Elliott said in her Facebook post: “I am hoping that all my friends will share this story so we can create some urgency for the City of Kamloops to do a better job in protecting our children.”
She said her baby, Poppy, “held and almost ingested a full bag of purple heroin while on the McDonald Park playground.”
Elliott said her three-year-old child managed to take the package away from her sibling.
“I hate to think what could have happened in those split seconds,” Elliott said, adding that she brought the matter to the attention of nearby City of Kamloops washroom-cleaning staff and was underwhelmed by their response that they “do not let their grandchildren play in McDonald Park.”
“The reality is that plenty of families play here from all over Kamloops and that could have been your kid that picked that up,” Elliott said.
“Whose responsibility is it to ensure that city play equipment stays safe? I am completely devastated. My heart hurts. I usually have a look for these things before I let my kids play, but today, for some reason, I didn’t. But I also shouldn’t have to.”
Pillay said B.C.’s ongoing opioid crisis means parents should be mindful of needles and drugs in public parks.
RCMP Const. Gary Gray said fentanyl has been on Kamloops streets since 2014.
“Since then, fentanyl has become the drug of choice for both traffickers and users in Kamloops over heroin because of its potency,” he said.
“Drug traffickers acquire fentanyl fairly cheap and mix it with a buffing agent such as caffeine to be sold on the street.”
Gray said the most common fentanyl colour in Kamloops currently is purple.
Pillay told KTW the substance will not be submitted for testing” because there is no viable investigation remaining.”
However, he added, police are confident the substance inside the package is, indeed, fentanyl, noting court-acknowledged experts examined the package.