Canada’s national police agency is now training its canine recruits to detect a fentanyl.
The growing fentanyl scourge is killing scores of drug users across Canada who are often unknowingly ingesting the toxic opioid that is cut into other illicit compounds.
The RCMP announced this month that its police service dogs are currently training in Innisfail, Alberta to sniff out the substance, which is 100 times more toxic than morphine. And, it’s already paying off.
One of the three RCMP dog teams presently trained to detect fentanyl has already intercepted 12,000 tablets in British Columbia, the Mounties said.
“I do believe the Canadian population is safer because of our new fentanyl dog training. By keeping more fentanyl off the street, we save Canadian lives,” Inspector Akrum Ghadban, Officer in Charge of the RCMP Police Dog Service Training Centre said in a statement.
The RCMP is leads the way in dog training to detect fentanyl, without the animals being exposed to harm.
“Our specialists have transformed pure fentanyl into a diluted liquid form, enabling our dogs to train with the real smell of fentanyl with no risk of inhaling it. It is particularly efficient, making the dogs in the field extremely productive,” Staff Sergeant Eric Stebenne, a senior trainer at the centre explained in a release.
Trainers are using scent walls, praise and rewards to teach the dogs to find even the faintest hint of fentanyl.
By this summer, all 139 RCMP narcotics-profile dogs and their handlers will be trained to sniff out fentanyl.