Opioid on Walpole Island epidemic impacting all of Lambton

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Lambton OPP Insp. Chris Avery believes the opioid epidemic in Walpole Island is having an affect on all of Lambton County.

Avery recently spoke with Petrolia town councillors about the detachment’s work in the community. And while he touched on some of the mischief, vandalism and other offenses they deal with on a regular basis in town, Avery says he sees the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and how some are turning to drugs to ease their mental health issues.

“On the Mental Health Act (cases) where there is an attempt or a threat of suicide …those calls are up incredibly,” he told councillors adding he believes it is linked to the regions opioid crisis.

The OPP has been helping the Walpole Island First Nation Police deal with the crisis in that community for several months.

“We’ve seen that there is an organized crime presence that is, I think, in the county – that is linked to the trafficking issues.

“And I think that organized crime has the ability to have a foothold in the community of Lambton County and I think it affects all the municipalities contained within that.”

One of the areas Avery says the OPP are watching is the illegal cannabis shops. Avery believes they may be moving opioids through the black market shops, although they have not had “success” catching the practice.