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

A Winnipeg father says his son could be taken off life support this week after he overdosed on opioids in northern Manitoba over the weekend, and RCMP say the same drug could be in another community.

Joseph Furey’s 31-year-old son, Harlan, was sent to the hospital in critical condition after he and three other men were found incapacitated Saturday night at a facility in Maine Pass. Pas is located about 520 kilometers northwest of Winnipeg.

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

Furey said her son’s heart was not beating, and Harlan was taken to a Pas City hospital, where he was stabilized enough to be transferred to Brandon State Hospital.

Furey said Monday that doctors confirmed his worst fears that Harlan had suffered a catastrophic brain injury from lack of oxygen to the brain during that time, and that he was not expected to wake up.

“Everything that was conscious, everything that made Harlan Harlan, is gone, destroyed,” he said in an interview Monday night.

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

He said Harlan will likely be discharged later this week. The family hopes that Harlan’s love of helping people can continue through organ donation if possible.

Suspicious drugs were found in Thompson

On Sunday, Mounties said they were informed the men had taken an illegal drug, possibly ecstasy, believed to be an opioid. According to the report, they learned a few hours later about two additional doses of the drug at the same facility.

The sheriff’s office said Monday it believes the material found at The Pas may also be in Thompson, Maine.

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

The box contained seven vials of an “unknown crystalline powder substance” that the squad determined, according to field tests, contained an opioid.

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

“RCMP believe the drugs seized in Thompson may be the same substance found in The Pas, which resulted in the hospitalization of six people, one of whom remains in critical condition,” a news release said Monday.

Thompson RCMP say there has been one reported overdose believed to be related to the suspected drug, according to a news release.

The open case reveals seven vials, each containing a crystalline substance.
RCMP on Sunday released this photo of vials seized in Thompson, Maine, containing suspected drugs. (Submitted by the RCMP)

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

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

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

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