KAMLOOPS — The first ever sentence for trafficking fentanyl in BC, was handed down in Kamloops Supreme Court today.
According to Kamloops This Week, 32-year old Matthew Hickson was handed a 28 month prison sentence, after pleading guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking cocaine and fentanyl. Social agencies like the John Howard Society in Kamloops, say with a so-called fentanyl epidemic in our community, this sentence is precedent-setting.
"In this circumstance, the judge was balancing a number of issues, one being the heightened level of concern among the public and social agencies who are supporting vulnerable citizens in our community and impacted by drug use and fentanyl, so we know with this 28 month sentence, this individual will serve their sentence in a federal institution where they will have access to rehabilitation programs and will be supervised in community when they come out," says Lindsay Lord, CEO of John Howard Society Thompson Region
Fentanyl is a highly potent drug that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Over the past several months, fentanyl-related overdose deaths in BC have skyrocketed, and in April, BC's Chief Medical Health Officer delared a state of emergency. Lindsay lord says anyone involved in the distribution and trafficking of fentany, must be held accountable.
"When we look at fentanyl in our community, the biggest aspect is this feeling of lack of control, it's happened very quickly, people are dying, and there's a feeling of lack of control around this in our communities, so when I look at this it's not just we need to have the lense on our judicial process, we need to look as a community in terms of prevention, public safety, education and that's some of the work John Howard Society and other social agencies are doing with the people we support," says Lord.
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