Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As elected officials we want to make positive changes for Albertans. Bill 205, the Pharmacy and Drug (Pharmaceutical Equipment Control) Amendment Act, 2016, will not just improve lives; it will save them. This bill regulates the possession of pill presses, which criminals use to produce homemade concoctions that kill such as fentanyl and W-18. As legislators Bill 205 provides us with a rare opportunity to directly save lives.
Why is this bill so critical right now? Well, it’s because 272 Albertans died last year from overdosing on fentanyl. They popped a $20 pill expecting a recreational high, but they quickly spiralled into the biggest downer of their lives, and then they were gone. Bill 205 gives police a powerful tool to reduce deaths and save families and friends of victims from terrible, lifelong anguish. Restricting pill presses places Alberta at the forefront of the fight against fentanyl in Canada and may lead the federal government to take action nationally.
This bill amends the Pharmacy and Drug Act to license pill presses, used in the illegal manufacture of drugs. It gives police the ability to seize presses, which can generate thousands of the deadly tablets in an hour. Fines can reach up to $375,000 or jail time. The penalties sound high, but make no mistake. Criminals manufacturing this powerful drug make millions of dollars.
When this bill comes before the House, I encourage all of you to participate in the debates. What better way to use our special position as Members of the Legislative Assembly than by working together towards halting the production of deadly drugs and actually saving lives. While Bill 205 carries my name as its sponsor today, should it become law, it will be the 29th Legislature that will have passed it.
Let’s do this. Let’s save lives, let’s do it together, and let’s do it today.
On May 9, 2016, Mike Ellis spoke to his private member's bill to address fentanyl abuse in Alberta
PC Caucus in the Legislature
PC Caucus members have proposed and passed bills, amendments and motions. Read about them here.