Crack-related arrests on the rise in Nunavik, police say

‘It’s huge,’ NPS officer confirms; public health board spreads drug-safety message

Drugs and drug paraphernalia were seized by Nunavik police on Oct 4 in Salluit, with an estimated total Nunavik street value of $150,000 according to the police service. (Photo courtesy of Nunavik Police Service)

By Jorge Antunes

Nunavik’s board of health is raising a red flag over what it says is an increased use of crack cocaine in the region, and has started a public awareness campaign.

“It is known that crack cocaine is or was circulating in Nunavik. It has been observed in Nunavik by clinical resources and authorities,” said Kathleen Poulin, a spokesperson for the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services.

She said residents are concerned about “the impact of crack cocaine in Nunavik,” leading to the launch of the awareness campaign posted to the board’s Facebook page.

“It’s a huge problem,” said Capt. Patrice Abel, of the Nunavik Police Service’s integrated investigations unit.

He confirmed the increasing presence of the drug and said arrests for trafficking have increased in the region in recent years.

“In the last two and half years, we have seen a lot of change in the kind of drugs coming in from the south,” Abel said. “Right now, cocaine and crack are very important to our investigations.”

Crack cocaine is a hardened, solid form of the drug which is smoked rather than inhaled. It is known to be more addictive than cocaine in its regular powdered form.

On Oct. 4, police in Salluit reported a major drug seizure carried out on Sept. 29 in which 257 grams of crack cocaine with an estimated Nunavik market value of $150,000 was seized. Close to $8,000 in cash was also found.

Police said two suspects were charged in connection with the seizure.

“It was a huge bust, because there was over 250 grams of crack. It was a very big amount,” Abel said.

Abel said that for police, the effort to prevent the spread of crack cocaine and illegal drugs is a never-ending battle.

“We are trying to control entry here into Nunavik, but each time we arrest one” there are two others to take their place, he said.

Police are finding that after a series of busts in one community, the drugs will appear in other places where there has been little or no drug trafficking before.

Abel was unable to provide exact statistics on the problem, but said that based on intelligence they have gathered, he believes there will be more busts for cocaine and crack cocaine this year and next.

Abel acknowledged prevention, like the the public health board’s work, is key to battling the problem.

“Prevention is maybe a good way to decrease drug use, but from my perspective we need more busts,” he said, adding “we know that prevention is not the only thing we can do to stop the problem up here in the North.”

He said Nunavik police have its own prevention agent, who visits schools in the area to speak with young people.

Abel acknowledged “it’s going to be very, very hard to stop” the flow of drugs into Nunavik as it is in most areas, “but we try to control what we can control.”

For Nunavik’s board of health, the focus of its campaign is on public awareness, prevention, and how to safely use the drugs if people choose to do so.

“It is important for people who choose to use drugs to know about the substances being used and how to use substances with a sense of safety in mind,” Poulin said.

“The [board] supports the spread of information and encourages people to get informed.”


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(10) Comments:

  1. Posted by Get the usual ones first on

    Hopefully busting the known dealers around kuujjuaq, and other areas in Nunavik will make a major impact. I don’t think that these regular drug dealers are not known, I think the authorities may already know, who got so much material and buying and selling toys all the time. Come on, authorities must know, anyone over the age of 12 years old has knowledge of the dealers around kuujjuaq. As far as other communities, even salluit , the drugs pass through Puvirnituq or kuujjuaq, and what if a dealer in kuujjuaq was involved in that too. With some dealer over that way. I’m waiting for the big bust, and looking forward to the banning of the dealers from Nunavik, even if they are from Nunavik. The police have a big job, but I think the federal and provincial tax man should be alerted to the big ticket items, for people who are declaring only Reg income on their tax.

    • Posted by NUNAVIMIUK on

      Buying and selling toys all the time , is he s way of laundering money . can t walk into the bank with all that cash , when your a simple driver.

      • Posted by In plain sight, they’re going to get their man soon. on

        Yes, going around like it’s nothing to it. Toys, and keeps on getting. Let’s hope that we the public are not the only ones seeing so much material of so and so with, chances are , drugged financed toys. Let’s hope that authorities are moving in slowly, build up to make the big grab.

  2. Posted by on looker on

    I believe one way to cut down big , is, harsh jail time for those involved. I don’t mean small sentences…no easy get away and faster judicial time instead of waiting years and then be given small sentence or fines for those convicted. Harsh sentences with the information given to public of what they face if convicted, caught etc.

    • Posted by It seems on

      It seems to be the small pusher going to jail, and often. And many. You know this one and that one , not seen in awhile, gone to jail. Then sudden one day, there’s radio songs request to these excons, welcoming them back to the community. If you could only see what’s in the jail downsouth , from Nunavik, and they’re just the small guys who get caught easy, not experienced: just careless about their activities. We need some of the bigger, I mean those doing the buying and selling from south to north, so far we’re get only the decoys used by the bigger ones. Hopefully going to get them dealers yet, and put them away ! Long time.

  3. Posted by modern times on

    if you think we had a problem with weed and alcohol, wait until this hits your small community. this stuff will only destroy lives, home, families, incomes. not to mention the mental issues it creates. this stuff kills!

    • Posted by Time for a funeral home on

      People are desensitized to death of the young in Nunavik. It’s like who died , and who’s next ? The value for human life, is at an all time low. There’s no motivation, no insight to healthy living. The number of kids born with fetal alcohol and fetal drugged induced is high, very high. At the same time , as the overdoses are getting a run on the freeway, it’s life saturated with the mental illness of being born to drinking mothers, growing up with drug and alcohol abusing parents, and a community that’s not aware of any of it , in real human ways.

  4. Posted by Andrew on

    like this if you know a hard drugs dealer in your town.

  5. Posted by How could this be a problem? on

    Bingo and online bingos aren’t really an issue? Smoking? Alcohol? Marijuana?

  6. Posted by Number Cruncher on

    $150,000 estimated value? That can’t be right, that’s like $600 a gram. Maybe one too many zeroes.

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