Winnipeg man may be taken off life support after opioid-laced drug overdose in The Pas, father says

A Winnipeg father says his son may be taken off life support this week after he overdosed on an opioid-laced drug in northern Manitoba over the weekend, and RCMP say it appears the same drug may have turned up in another community.

Joseph Fourre’s 31-year-old son, Harlan, was sent to hospital in critical condition after he and three other men were found unresponsive at an establishment in The Pas, Man., on Saturday evening. The Pas is located about 520 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.

RCMP said paramedics administered naloxone on the men and were able to revive three of them, who were taken to hospital for treatment and later released.

Fourre said his son’s heart was not beating, and Harlan was taken to the hospital in The Pas, where he was stabilized enough to be flown to a hospital in Brandon, Man.

On Monday, Fourre said doctors confirmed his worst fears — that Harlan suffered catastrophic brain damage due to the lack of oxygen to his brain during that time, and is not expected to wake up. 

“Anything that was conscious, anything that made Harlan Harlan is gone, was destroyed,” he said in an interview Monday evening.

Joseph said Harlan is being taken to Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre, where doctors will assess whether he is a candidate for organ donation.

He said Harlan will likely be taken off life support later this week. The family is hoping Harlan’s love of helping people can continue through organ donation, if possible.

Suspected drug found in Thompson

On Sunday, Mounties said they were informed that the men had taken an illegal drug, possibly ecstasy, believed to have been laced with an opioid. They learned of two additional overdoses from the drug at the same establishment several hours later, according to the release.

On Monday, the police service said they believe the substance found in The Pas may also be in Thompson, Man.

RCMP say one of its officers was at Thompson General Hospital on an unrelated matter Sunday afternoon when a nurse approached him and turned over a small box.

The box contained seven vials of an “unknown crystal-like powder substance” that, upon field testing in the detachment, contained an opioid, according to police.

A sample of the suspected drug was sent for further analysis.

“RCMP believe the drugs seized in Thompson may be the same substance that was discovered in The Pas which led to the hospitalization of six individuals, one of whom remains in critical condition,” the Monday news release stated in part.

Thompson RCMP said there’s been one reported overdose believed to be linked to the suspected drug, according to the news release.

An open case shows seven vials with a crystal-like substance in each of them.
RCMP released this photo of vials seized in Thompson, Man., on Sunday that contain suspected drugs. (Submitted by RCMP)

Members of Harlan’s family, including his sisters, nieces and nephews, were devastated by the news of his overdose, said his father, who works with people with addictions.

“I’m not taking my son totally off the hook on this. He made a choice that night that unfortunately cost him his life,” Joseph said. 

“But if he would have gotten what he bought, he would still be alive today.”

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