Squamish mom finds fentanyl-filled package near elementary school

Squamish Chief

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fentanyl-filled package
Photo: SERRA BOTEN

It is not what any mom expects or wants to find on a routine walk back from the morning school drop off.

March 11, near Squamish Elementary, mom of two young children Serra Boten found a small baggy of a pink crystal substance that turned out to contain fentanyl.

It was at the Buckley Avenue crosswalk where she, and countless other parents and kids, cross every day.

Boten said she didn’t think it would be drugs, but wanted to make sure the package was off the road nonetheless.

In addition to the substance being bright pink and looking like candy, the packaging had a cute skunk-like character printed on it.

It was early in the morning, as Boten had just dropped her daughter off at a preschool near the elementary school, so it was before many of the elementary students would be passing by, Boten said.

fentanyl-filled package
Package found on the street in downtown Squamish. – Serra Boten

She picked up the package as carefully as she could — though she took pictures of it in her hand so she could share her find with other parents. She held it out in front of her as she walked home.  She washed her hands when she got home and put it away in a top cupboard, out of reach of her kids until she could turn it over to police.

She tried to take it to the detachment later that day, but it was closed. It wasn’t until this Monday, March 18, she got in touch with the RCMP.

Squamish RCMP confirmed to The Chief that on March 18 drugs were turned in to the detachment and had reportedly been found the week prior in front of the school.

The product was tested on the Squamish RCMP ion scanner and it tested positive for the presence of fentanyl, though Cpl. Sascha Banks said there is no way for the scanner used in town to determine what percentage of the drugs was fentanyl.

“The public needs to be aware if items such as these are located, they should be reported to the police immediately,” stated Banks. “Do not handle these items, do not take them home, and report to the police immediately to allow for testing and any messaging or public safety required.”

Such items should never be handled with bare hands, she stressed.

Contact the non-emergency line, or even 911 if such items are found. Officers are trained and have the proper gear to handle such items, she said.

As for Boten, she said she continues to be watchful of items when she is out and about in Squamish. Having moved from East Vancouver — where she was always on the lookout for things outside that could harm her kids — to the district where she imagined it was much safer, she said, finding something so dangerous isn’t something she thought she would have to be as worried about here.

“That’s pretty scary,” she said.