A dirty, dangerous job: Fentanyl drug house cleaners are crazy busy
'These properties are deemed unfit, they sit and nobody knows what to do with them'
By David Bell, CBC News Posted: Oct 02, 2017 3:06 PM MT Last Updated: Oct 04, 2017 2:22 PM MT
It's a dirty job and, sadly, business is booming.
Dean May of Calgary-based MayKen Hazmat Solutions restores former drug houses to move-in condition. The explosion of fentanyl use in Western Canada is keeping his team hopping.
- Canadian record of 130,000 fentanyl pills seized by Edmonton police
- Thousands of fentanyl pills seized as part of $700K drug bust in Calgary
"About eight years ago, we got into the marijuana grow-ops when they were really big.… They are kind of petering out," May told the the Calgary Eyeopener this week.
"Now with fentanyl on the rise, we were contacted by some property owners. Is this something that we can deal with? We started doing our research and checking with local authorities on what was required.
"We worked really closed with Alberta Health Services on the first two or three of them that were ever found in Calgary, so that between us, we could develop protocol and procedures on how to deal with them."
Fast forward eight years and the May team is travelling to places across Alberta and B.C., removing the hazard of drug houses from their communities.
"Our team goes in, we are double-suited up, we're gloved-up, booted-up, taped-up, sealed-up," he explained.
"We hepa vac all the available particulates out of the property. And now we've got our hands on a new product that is not just cleaning the fentanyl. Now we are actually neutralizing it and decontaminating it."
The team is currently cleaning up a home in Edmonton that was the base for Canada's largest fentanyl bust in history.
"These properties are deemed unfit. They sit and nobody knows what to do with them. They are a hazard to the community. All of these houses, they have kids running around, playing in the neighbourhood," May explained.
- Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray lead province in per-capita fentanyl deaths
- 'A huge problem': Correctional officers in Alberta hospitalized after exposure to fentanyl during searches
"If we can remove the hazard from the community and put the house back into the neighbourhood and make it liveable again, that is a really big part of it."
May says it's about providing closure.
"We are making the fentanyl inert. The hazard is gone, it is removed for ever and ever, amen."
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