A recent drug bust that landed police a small quantity of crystal meth could be a sign of an attempt to test the market in P.E.I., according to local police.
Charlottetown Deputy Chief Gary McGuigan said it’s a drug the police haven’t seen before in the capital city.
“It appeared to us that they were trying to introduce this drug into the community,” he said.
On Sept. 13, Charlottetown police arrested two men and seized more than $15,000 worth of drugs that included, cannabis resin, cocaine, marijuana and speed. It also included 9.7 grams of crystal meth that would be worth about $100 to $150 in other jurisdictions.
The drug is so rare in P.E.I. that when a federal Crown attorney tried to find out the street value for the amount seized in the recent bust, there was nothing to compare it to locally.
Crystal meth is a powerful drug that usually comes in a crystal form that looks similar to ice or in a powder and is typically smoked, swallowed in pill form, snorted or injected. It is highly addictive and chronic use can lead to anxiety, insomnia, depression, paranoia and violent behaviour.
There are also outward physical changes, such as open sores and rotting teeth.
P.E.I. is no stranger to drugs and addiction, but as for why crystal meth hasn’t become a widespread problem in the province, McGuigan said it’s hard to say because it depends on who is dealing drugs and what connections they have.
“It’s supply and demand,” he said.
McGuigan said if the drug gets introduced to Charlottetown at a bargain price, and people get addicted to it, that will be where the demand comes from.
“At that point you would probably see an increase in the amount of crystal meth that’s being introduced into the community,” he said.
That doesn’t seem to have happened yet and based on intelligence the police are getting, the drug isn’t in Charlottetown, McGuigan said.
“We’ve never had this amount or we’ve never caught people who we would consider dealers taking it in to introduce it into the drug trade in Charlottetown.”
McGuigan said there is always concern it will be introduced eventually.
“Hopefully with that drug bust we have disrupted this network or any networking that these individuals were trying to do,” he said.
Crystal meth is scary on its own and when it gets compounded by the existing opiate addiction problem it’s even worse, McGuigan said.
“The last thing we need is something like crystal meth being introduced on top of an already...volatile prescription opiate problem that we have here.”
While crystal meth hasn’t been a problem in Charlottetown, it doesn’t seem to have made its way to other parts of the province either with RCMP Cpl. Reg Campbell saying he could only remember the RCMP making one small seizure in P.E.I.
Campbell, who works with the RCMP’s drugs and organized crime awareness service, agreed crystal meth’s rarity in P.E.I. was a matter of supply and demand and said the drug has a bad reputation.
“Very deservingly so,” he said.
There are other drugs people may be able to experiment with, but crystal meth is much more addictive, Campbell said.
“They’ll become addicted to it trying it for the first time.”
Crystal meth is a synthetic drug that amateurs can cook up in their own homes from ingredients that are available at local pharmacies.
Campbell said Island law enforcement has worked with the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association to keep large purchases of the necessary ingredients from happening.
“Those type of purchases can be monitored and identified by our pharmacies and persons where they’re being sold from.”