Fentanyl, Drug Overdose prevention and investigations

Many guns and bags of drugs and money collected during Project Quattro 2019The OPS’s Drug Unit made use of a new Ion Scanner, received as part of grant funding from the province. The scanner allowed officers the ability to rapidly assess drugs on scene and determine if there was a risk, for example, of fentanyl. Samples were subsequently sent to Health Canada for confirmation of results.

As the city continued to combat a rise in the number of overdose cases due to fentanyl, the scanner was one tool in the OPS’s preventative push to save lives, along with police-carried naloxone kits. In 2019, OPS officers used 18 naloxone kits to help counter an overdose. Ongoing collaboration with City partners, including paramedics and fire services, Ottawa Public Health, Safe Injection Site staff, area hospitals and Outaouais healthcare and frontline workers, helped to create a united and measured response to this crisis.

On the enforcement front, the Drug Unit launched a new investigation of high-traffic narcotics and weapons in the Ottawa area. Through evidence-led investigations, OPS officers found ties to other cities, including Sault Ste-Marie, Sudbury and Niagara Falls. It culminated in a combined forces investigation dubbed Skylark. Fifteen men were charged, four in the Ottawa-area, with trafficking of 12.5 kgs of cocaine, 640 g of shatter, hundreds of fentanyl patches, 11 firearms and coordinated more than eight police service tactical teams with 200 officers.

The Drug Unit continues to credit tips from the public as a prime source for resolving these incidents.