Nova Scotia

Disguised meth slips into Nova Scotia, seducing drug users

Methamphetamine, a powerful and highly addictive stimulant, is sneaking into Nova Scotia disguised as another street drug. After being tricked into taking it, people in northern Nova Scotia have developed a taste for meth.

Most of that meth is being found in Cumberland County and around the New Brunswick border

Methamphetamine and crystal meth are starting to show up in greater frequency around the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border. (Ralph Orlowski/Reuters)

Methamphetamine has crept into Nova Scotia disguised as a party drug.

After being tricked into taking it, people in northern Nova Scotia now have developed a taste for it.

"Originally, they were ice pills and kids thought they were similar to ecstasy," said RCMP Cpl. David Lane. "Unfortunately, now people know they're meth and they take them fully aware that they are methamphetamine."

Meth is a highly addictive stimulant that makes people feel euphoric and full of energy. But it also has a violent comedown often resulting in aggression, hallucinations, insomnia, weight loss and paranoia.

In the long term it can cause brain damage, dental erosion and skin lesions. 

"Recently in Nova Scotia there's been a lot of meth in the north part of the province," said Lane, who handles drug and organized crime awareness for the RCMP. 

Cpl. David Lane shows off some of the drugs seized in Nova Scotia. (David Burke/CBC)

Most of that meth is being found in Cumberland County and around the New Brunswick border. Some crystal meth has also been seized. 

It's not clear why meth is showing up in that area, but Lane said it's not uncommon for drug traffickers to flood an area with product if one type of drug proves popular. 

That has big consequences. 

Lane said the drugs are expensive and that leads to an increase in break and enters and shoplifting.

"Even, unfortunately, people selling their bodies — sexual services just to make enough money to feed their habit," said Lane. 

Albert McNutt is the director of the Northern Healthy Connections Society. (Elizabeth Chiu/CBC)

The health promotion group Northern Healthy Connections Society runs a free needle exchange and operates in Cumberland County. Its workers have also seen an increase in meth use in the area, according to director Albert McNutt.

"That very well could be a common thread throughout Nova Scotia, but right now we're seeing more of it in Cumberland," he said.  

Ecstasy tablets in the province contain dangerous chemicals according to the RCMP.

Party drugs are also a growing concern for the RCMP in the province. Customers buy the drugs ecstasy and Molly under the impression they contain high amounts of the pleasure-inducing compound MDMA. 

But they're being deceived.

"It's probably one of the most dangerous drugs that's on the street, although everybody thinks it's perfectly safe," said Lane.

He said only a quarter of the ecstasy police seize actually contains MDMA. "People are again risking their lives taking this for a party," he said.

It's risky because it's not clear what exactly is in the drug and what impact it could have on the person using it. 

Cpl. David Lane holds up a sample of crystal meth seized in the province. Lane's face can't be shown because of the sensitive nature of his work. (David Burke/CBC)

Even with meth moving in, and the popularity of party drugs, the main drugs abused in Nova Scotia remain opioids and crack cocaine.

The demand never wanes whether it is in urban or rural areas. Lane said people need to rid themselves of the fantasy that small town Nova Scotia is immune to the province's drug problems. 

"The illicit drug trade is everywhere in Nova Scotia," he said. "People might want to think it doesn't happen in rural Nova Scotia, but it does.

"And, unfortunately, if you don't educate yourself, you're not aware, it might be too late till a member of your family … gets addicted or overdoses on something."       

Opioids and crack cocaine are still the most commonly abused drugs in Nova Scotia. (Steve Heap/Shutterstock)

The RCMP conducts hundreds of drug investigations every year in Nova Scotia. Lane said the only way to get the drugs off the street is to have the public recognize there's a problem and report what they see. 

"People need to know that it's not safe. People are selling drugs to make a profit and they don't care about the end user," said Lane.

"There's no scientist testing this, this is just people out to fill their own pockets. If you're going to take illicit drugs from the street you're taking your own life in your hands." 

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