Prince George teen’s fentanyl overdose considered ‘targeted’: RCMP

Police in Prince George say a 16-year-old girl has died from a fentanyl overdose after being held in “serious condition” since Wednesday.

The girl was brought to hospital after being found at a home last week unconscious and with high levels of fentanyl in her blood.

Mounties say she died over the weekend, and the circumstances of her death are being treated as a criminal investigation.

The Prince George RCMP says all drug-related deaths in the city are investigated by police and the coroner.

“We also recognize the exceedingly high expectation on police from the public when a youth appears to have been targeted by a fentanyl trafficker,” said Sgt. Whitehouse with the Serious Crime Unit.

Officers reportedly stayed at the home where the girl was found for the majority of the day while they executed a search warrant to help determine if any criminality was involved.

Corp. Jenn Cooper tells CityNews that the victim’s youth and inexperience may have attracted the suspected dealers.

“The circumstances surrounding it would suggest that it wasn’t someone selling to some of our more ‘street-entrenched’ who have a history of experimenting with illicit drugs. Circumstances here would suggest that this was targeted, and that they were targeting a maybe more ‘naïve’ section of the population — or more ‘unaware’ section of the population, in order to elicit customers,” said Cooper.

She said anyone selling fentanyl to youth is treated as having committed a crime.

“It is a disturbing trend, finding youth experimenting with fentanyl, and we want to see if we can track back to who was selling it to them. Because there’s case-law that says that everybody should know that fentanyl is an extremely harmful substance, so to be trafficking in it, you are willingly trafficking in an extremely harmful and potentially lethal substance.”

Cooper says it can be difficult to trace the source in overdose cases, but she said, “Fortunately, this time, we do have some solid leads.”

The Prince George RCMP says the investigation is ongoing.

In a May report, the BC Coroners Service (BCCS) said 126 people under the age of 19 were killed by the toxic unregulated drug supply between 2019 and 2023 — 28 of whom died in 2023 alone.

BCCS said toxic drugs are the leading cause of unnatural deaths for youth, and most people in the group are either 17 or 18 years old.

The report noted that young women accounted for 51 per cent of those deaths — a significant difference compared to the general population, where men account for around 80 per cent of all drug deaths in B.C.

Cooper said, “[The girl’s death] is a terrible way to reinforce how lethal fentanyl is and that we should be having open conversations with our youth, if they’re going to be experimenting with drugs or illicit substances, of just what kind of risks and hazards they could be opening themselves up to.”

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