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Last updateFri, 20 Sep 2019 10am

Recent overdoses in Drumheller have RCMP reminding people of Good Samaritan Act

RCMP logo

Drumheller RCMP say they suspect three separate incidents of drug overdoses, including two fatalities and one where the person was revived, and wants to remind the public of the danger of carfentanil and fentanyl in street drugs.
    Detachment commander Corporal Edmund Bourque says in the last two months they believe two people fatally overdosed on drugs suspected to have contained the powerful opiates carfentanyl and fentanyl. He says one person had overdosed but emergency medical staff revived the individual with Narcan, a drug which reverses the effects of opioids in the body.
    “It’s definitely a concern for us now,” he said. “People can’t trust the drugs they’re buying. They contain different strengths and types of drugs like carfentanil and fentanyl.”
    Alberta RCMP have been reminding people of the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act this month, after news of a young British Columbia boy whose suspected overdose death was live streamed online by bystanders.
    RCMP say between January 2016 and December 2018, 1,971 deaths in Alberta were attributed to apparent opioid-related overdoses.
    “Alberta RCMP were dispatched to several of those incidents and determined that, in some cases, it is believed bystanders, friends or family members were hesitant to call emergency services for assistance due to concerns of potential legal repercussions,” they say.
    The Good Samaritan act is meant to encourage people to seek emergency help during an overdose by helping reduce the fear of seeking police or medical assistance. It applies to anyone seeking emergency assistance during an overdose, including the person experiencing an overdose. The Act protects the person who seeks help, whether they stay or leave from the overdose scene, as well as anyone else who is at the scene when help arrives. The act can protect people from charges for possession of a controlled substance and consequence of breaching conditions regarding simple possession in pre-trial release, probation, and conditional sentences and parole.
    “Drug overdoses could happen to someone close to you – a friend, a family member, or someone nearby. Staying at the scene is important to help save the life of the person experiencing an overdose,” RCMP say.
    They say witnesses should call for emergency help and render whatever assistance they can, including administering naloxone – a fast-acting drug that temporarily reverses the effects of opioid overdoses – if it is available, providing first aid, including rescue breathing (CPR) if necessary until help arrives, and staying calm and reassuring the person help is on the way.

Hanna centre receives $600k to help community transition off coal

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The federal government will invest $693,500 in the Hanna Learning Centre to establish services to help Hanna transition off the coal industry, once the Sheerness power plant closes.
    The Hanna Learning Centre (HLC) will use the money “to establish a business hub and concierge centre for business inquiries and entrepreneurship support,” the federal government announced on Tuesday, September 3.
    The learning centre’s executive director Doray Veno says they plan to open the business hub this winter, which will bring several business service providers under one roof, in the hope it will stimulate economic growth in Hanna.
    “For small businesses to work in a cooperative space will have a positive impact to the current business ecosystem,” she said. The HLC provides education courses, employment services, and business counselling services.
     Hanna Mayor Chris Warwick says the announcement is “fantastic” for the town, which has struggled with a decline in economic development. In 2016  the provincial government announced it would be speeding up the closure of the coal power generation from 2040 to 2030, which would mean the closure of the Sheerness plant, which employs between 60 to 80 people.
    “It’s a good start,” Warwick says. “It’ll help us move along in the direction we need to go.”
   The Mail reported in February of this year that ATCO Electric had applied to the Alberta Utilities Commission to convert the Sheerness Power plant from coal to gas. But in May, Canadian Utilities Ltd., an ATCO company, announced it would sell its electricity generation portfolio, including the Sheerness facility, to Heartland Generation Ltd. for approximately $835 million. Mayor Warwick says that deal had recently closed.  
It was reported at the time they had no intention of reducing staff there.
     Warwick says the community hopes to spur growth, after Hanna has seen some economic decline over the past decade. He hopes this funding and an additional 25 million pledged by the federal government to help coal communities transition will help bring new industry and business to the town.
    The funds come from the Canada Coal Transition Initiative, established in 2017 to help resource-based communities transition into clean energy. Paintearth County received $2,738,917 from the program and a steel worker’s union in Wabamun, AB received $200,000.
    “These projects will support business development and re-employment initiatives in Alberta,” said the federal government in the announcement. “The challenge of climate change requires Canada to transition our economy and, in particular, our energy system to one that is more sustainable.”

Equipment failure causes Aquaplex closure, breaks pipes

aquaplex exterior mar 2014

                The Aquaplex will be closed until Monday, September 16 after an equipment failure during routine maintenance caused damage to the facility.

                During annual maintenance, a pump was being lifted out of a vault when the equipment failed and caused the pump to fall, breaking pipes which now need to be replaced, said town communications officer Julia Fielding.

                No one was hurt in the incident, but the pool will remain closed while parts are ordered.

                Swimming lessons will be rescheduled to begin next week.

                “We appreciate your patience during this delay. Memberships will be compensated according to our closure,” the town said in a press release.

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